How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near West Point Georgia
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Point GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the West Point GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many West Point GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in West Point GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential West Point GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to West Point GA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective West Point GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with West Point GA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the West Point medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the West Point GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near West Point GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Point Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Point GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Point, Georgia
West Point is a city in Troup and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 3,474, and in 2015 the estimated population was 3,728. Most of the city is in Troup County, which is part of the LaGrange Micropolitan Statistical Area, and hence part of the Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area. A sliver in the south is in Harris County, which is part of the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The city's present name comes from its being near the westernmost point of the Chattahoochee River, where the river turns from its southwesterly flow from the Appalachian Mountains to due south – for all practical purposes – and forms the boundary with Alabama. The large nearby reservoir, West Point Lake, was created by the Army Corps of Engineers by the building of the West Point Dam, for water storage and hydroelectric power generation. The reservoir stores water which can be released during dry seasons, in order to maintain the water level of the navigable inland waterway from Columbus, Georgia, south to the Gulf of Mexico.
During the late spring of 2003, there was a flood caused by extremely heavy rainfall and thunderstorms upstream of the West Point Dam; the weather caused the water level in the reservoir to come close to overflowing the top of the dam. There were allegations of poor forecasting by the Corps of Engineers of the reservoir's water levels. The flood water would have overflowed the dam had a large amount of water not been released though the spillway of the dam. Whereas this prevented the catastrophic failure of the West Point Dam, the city endured a flood much more severe than any other in the time since the dam had been built.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training West Point GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in West Point GA.
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