How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Gordo Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Gordo AL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Gordo AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though Gordo AL medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a specific 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 Education and Certification
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Gordo AL employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Gordo AL employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in area Alabama healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Gordo AL is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Gordo AL or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when assessing Alabama schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan 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 Gordo AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Gordo AL area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep 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 for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma 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 opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Gordo AL area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many Alabama medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Gordo AL medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers in the Gordo AL area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Gordo AL area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Gordo AL, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training 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 responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College in Gordo AL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Gordo AL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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