How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Atlanta Michigan
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Atlanta MI, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask all 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 kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Atlanta MI hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Atlanta MI medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Michigan law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Atlanta MI employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Atlanta MI employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in local Michigan health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Atlanta MI is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Atlanta MI or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing schools. 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 significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating Michigan schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Atlanta MI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Atlanta MI area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Atlanta MI area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Michigan medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Atlanta MI health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers in the Atlanta MI area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might 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 prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Atlanta MI area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Atlanta MI, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will 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 issues.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program in Atlanta MI
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend 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 selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Atlanta MI.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What made you select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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