How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Lavonia Georgia
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Lavonia GA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Lavonia GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities 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 support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While Lavonia GA medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Lavonia GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Lavonia GA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in local Georgia medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Lavonia GA is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Lavonia GA or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when researching Georgia schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lavonia GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Lavonia GA area medical assistant schools 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 for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get 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, confirm that the Lavonia GA area schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many Georgia medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Lavonia GA medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out 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 healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Lavonia GA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during 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 monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Lavonia GA area to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Lavonia GA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Lavonia GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if 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 acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lavonia GA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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