How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Mount Vernon Georgia
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Mount Vernon GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, 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 talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Mount Vernon GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Mount Vernon GA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Mount Vernon GA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Mount Vernon GA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected 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 graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in area Georgia medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Mount Vernon GA is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Mount Vernon GA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when evaluating 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 final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend 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 potential Mount Vernon GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Mount Vernon GA area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Mount Vernon GA area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Georgia medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Mount Vernon GA healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Mount Vernon GA area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school in the Mount Vernon GA area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Mount Vernon GA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Mount Vernon GA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Mount Vernon GA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask prospects is "What made you select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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