How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Summitville Tennessee
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Summitville TN, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Summitville TN hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Tennessee law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Summitville TN health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Summitville TN area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Summitville TN medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Summitville TN with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Summitville TN employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Summitville TN area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Summitville medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Summitville TN area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Summitville TN, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Summitville Tennessee?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Summitville TN area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Coffee County, Tennessee
Coffee County was formed in 1836 from parts of Bedford, Warren, and Franklin counties. It was named for John Coffee, a prominent planter, land speculator, and militia officer. Similar to other counties in this area of the state, planters here cultivated mostly tobacco and hemp, produced by the labor of enslaved African Americans.
In the period after Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, whites in Coffee County committed eight lynchings of blacks. This was the fifth-highest total of any county in the state, but three other counties also had eight lynchings each.
Coffee County has twelve Century Farms, the classification for farms that have been operating for more than 100 years. The oldest Century Farm is Shamrock Acres, founded in 1818. Other Century Farms include:
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Summitville TN
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Summitville TN.
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