How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Course in Leesburg Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Leesburg GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” 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 Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Leesburg GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size 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 professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Leesburg GA medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Leesburg GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Leesburg GA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option 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 working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in area Georgia health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Leesburg GA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Leesburg GA or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating Georgia schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Leesburg GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Leesburg GA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Leesburg GA area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Georgia medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Leesburg GA healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts in the Leesburg GA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Leesburg GA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Leesburg GA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Leesburg GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical 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 made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Leesburg GA.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask candidates is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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