How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Richmond Hill Georgia
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Richmond Hill GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Richmond Hill GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Richmond Hill GA medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Richmond Hill GA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive 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 involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Richmond Hill GA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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 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, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in regional Georgia healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Richmond Hill GA is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Richmond Hill GA or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when assessing Georgia schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Richmond Hill GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Richmond Hill GA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Richmond Hill GA area schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Georgia medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Richmond Hill GA healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts in the Richmond Hill GA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school in the Richmond Hill GA area to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Richmond Hill GA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Richmond Hill GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Richmond Hill GA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask candidates is "What made you select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities 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 certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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