How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Millbrook AL, it's time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Role of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants play an important role in the modern healthcare industry, providing assistance to other professionals and helping attend to patients. A medical assistant’s typical job responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations; taking medical histories; administering medication as requested by the attending physician; performing electrocardiograms; changing wound dressings or removing stitches; collecting samples for lab testing; serving as liaisons between doctors and patients; and fulfilling various administrative functions. These cross-disciplinary medical professionals work across various Alabama healthcare settings, concentrated in Millbrook outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other ambulatory care facilities. In some cases, CMAs (Certified Medical Assistants) have additional specialized certifications allowing them to fulfill other clinical responsibilities. For example, a CMA with a specialization in chiropractic care may assist a chiropractor during an adjustment, whereas a medical assistant who works in the office of an optometrist or ophthalmologist may help with an eye examination.
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Millbrook AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component involving 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 similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Millbrook AL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Millbrook AL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Millbrook AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Millbrook AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school'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 college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Millbrook AL area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Millbrook healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Millbrook AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may 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 provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Millbrook AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Millbrook Medical Assistant College
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on 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 on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Millbrook Alabama.