How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Valdosta Georgia
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Valdosta GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Valdosta GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although Valdosta GA medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Courses and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Valdosta GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some 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 alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Valdosta GA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in local Georgia health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Valdosta GA is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Valdosta GA or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating Georgia schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Valdosta GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Valdosta GA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select 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. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Valdosta GA area colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Georgia medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Valdosta GA healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help 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 high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers in the Valdosta GA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Valdosta GA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Valdosta GA, confirm that those times are offered. 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 clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in Valdosta GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm 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 regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Valdosta GA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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