How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Roswell Georgia
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Roswell GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Roswell GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Roswell GA medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Roswell GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Roswell GA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in area Georgia medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Roswell GA is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Roswell GA or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating Georgia schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Roswell GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Roswell GA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course 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. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Roswell GA area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Georgia medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Roswell GA healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Roswell GA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program in the Roswell GA area to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Roswell GA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Roswell GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Roswell GA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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