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Medical Assistant Training Programs near Florence AL 35630

How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Florence Alabama

Florence AL Medical Assistant completing internship trainingOnce you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Florence AL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Florence AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

While Florence AL medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Training Programs and Certification

Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Florence AL employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some 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 alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Florence AL employers just will not hire 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

CMA working with children in Florence ALThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in regional Alabama healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Florence AL is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Florence AL or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating Alabama programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Florence AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Florence AL area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Florence AL area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many Alabama medical assistant programs offer internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Florence AL healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the Florence AL area to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program in the Florence AL area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Florence AL, confirm 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 internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Course in Florence AL

It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges 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, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Florence AL.

Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?

When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try 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 ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

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