How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training in Fayette Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Fayette AL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes 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 critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Fayette AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Fayette AL medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available 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 Training Programs and Certification
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Fayette AL employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two 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 typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Fayette AL employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option 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 solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in local Alabama health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Fayette AL is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Fayette AL or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when evaluating Alabama programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Fayette AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Fayette AL area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting 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 choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Fayette AL area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Alabama medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Fayette AL healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Fayette AL area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Fayette AL area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Fayette AL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, 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 Training in Fayette AL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind 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 best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Fayette AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask applicants is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying 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 perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Some Cities in Alabama That May Be Of Interest