How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Abbeville Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Abbeville GA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Abbeville GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Abbeville GA medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Abbeville GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Abbeville GA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in area Georgia medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Abbeville GA is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Abbeville GA or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching Georgia schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. 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 previously mentioned, many potential Abbeville GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Abbeville GA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Abbeville GA area colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many Georgia medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Abbeville GA healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Abbeville GA area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Abbeville GA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Abbeville GA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Abbeville GA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Abbeville GA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Cities in Georgia That May Be Of Interest