How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in East Ellijay Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in East Ellijay GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all 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 offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the East Ellijay GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving 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 possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although East Ellijay GA medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many East Ellijay GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible East Ellijay GA employers just will not employ 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) offered 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 offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in regional Georgia health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in East Ellijay GA is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near East Ellijay GA or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when researching Georgia programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 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. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective East Ellijay GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited East Ellijay GA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask 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. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the East Ellijay GA area colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Georgia medical assistant schools offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the East Ellijay GA medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the East Ellijay GA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program in the East Ellijay GA area to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in East Ellijay GA, make sure that those times are offered. 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 may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program in East Ellijay GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare 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 so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in East Ellijay GA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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