How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training in Thomson Georgia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Thomson GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences 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 issues also. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Thomson GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Thomson GA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Thomson GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Thomson GA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in local Georgia medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid 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 necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Thomson GA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Thomson GA or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when assessing Georgia programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Thomson GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Thomson GA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Thomson GA area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Georgia medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Thomson GA health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Thomson GA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may 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 offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Thomson GA area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Thomson GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College in Thomson GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Thomson GA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask prospects is "What drove you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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