How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in Senoia Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Senoia GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included several 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Senoia GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending 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 can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Senoia GA medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Senoia GA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Senoia GA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in area Georgia medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Senoia GA is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Senoia GA or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, some 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 factors that you must look at when researching Georgia schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Senoia GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Senoia GA area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Senoia GA area schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Georgia medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Senoia GA healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Senoia GA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Senoia GA area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Senoia GA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Program in Senoia GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered 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 regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Senoia GA.
Why Did You Want to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask prospects is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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