Home >> Alabama >> Florence >> Medical Assistant Classes


Get Free Information on Medical Assistant Training Classes Florence AL 35630

How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Degree Program Near Florence Alabama

Florence Alabama medical assistant carrying patient chartOnce you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Florence AL, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very 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 as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included 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 kind of credentials and training that are offered.

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

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Florence Alabama CMA holding door for patient using crutches

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Florence AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

Florence Alabama medical assistant reading to senior patient in skilled nursing facilityUnlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Florence AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Florence AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Florence Alabama young woman attending online medical assistant classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Florence AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Florence AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To begin 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Florence AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Florence AL area healthcare providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Florence healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Florence AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Florence

Enroll in the Right Florence Medical Assistant Course

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Florence Alabama.




 

Florence Medical Assistant Courses | Florence Medical Assistant Classes | Florence Medical Assistant Degrees