Home >> Alabama >> Athens >> Medical Assistant Programs Near Me


Get Free Information on CMA Schools Athens AL 35611

How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Program Near Athens Alabama

Athens Alabama medical assistant holding patient recordsOnce you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Athens AL, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost 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 about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short 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 offered.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Athens Alabama medical assistant greeting patient on crutches

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Athens AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based 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 providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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

Athens Alabama medical assistant working with senior patient in skilled nursing facilityIn contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Athens AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Athens AL medical employers simply will not hire 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate 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.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

Athens Alabama young female taking online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to attend 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 extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Athens AL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Athens AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. 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 mentioned previously, a number of prospective Athens AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Athens AL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Athens medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Athens AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Become a CMA in Athens

Enroll in the Right Athens Medical Assistant College

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Athens Alabama.




 

Athens Medical Assistant Programs | Athens Medical Assistant Programs Near Me | Athens Medical Assistant Schools