How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Hahira Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Hahira GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by researching 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Hahira GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working 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
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While Hahira GA medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Hahira GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Hahira GA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work 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, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in regional Georgia medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Hahira GA is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Hahira GA or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when evaluating Georgia schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Hahira GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Hahira GA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Hahira GA area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Georgia medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Hahira GA medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts in the Hahira GA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Hahira GA area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Hahira GA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course in Hahira GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Hahira GA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask candidates is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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