How to Pick a Medical Assistant School in Chatsworth Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Chatsworth GA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 critical factors as well. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Chatsworth GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though Chatsworth GA medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Chatsworth GA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Chatsworth GA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in local Georgia medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Chatsworth GA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Chatsworth GA or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching Georgia programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Chatsworth GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Chatsworth GA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive 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 earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Chatsworth GA area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Georgia medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Chatsworth GA medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers in the Chatsworth GA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication 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 furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Chatsworth GA area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Chatsworth 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 still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School in Chatsworth GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate 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 need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection 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 a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Chatsworth GA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask prospects is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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