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How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama medical assistant holding patient recordsOnce you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Foley AL, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Foley Alabama medical assistant holding door for man using crutches

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Foley AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties 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 rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses

Foley Alabama medical assistant reading to senior man in nursing homeUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Foley AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Foley AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Foley Alabama young woman attending online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Foley AL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Foley AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 acknowledged 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. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Foley AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask 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 college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Foley AL area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Foley medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Foley AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

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

Train to Be a CMA in Foley

Enroll in the Right Foley Medical Assistant College

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if 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 must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan 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 on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Foley Alabama.




 

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