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How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant School Near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama CMA carrying patient filesOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Moody AL, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Role of Medical Assistants

Moody Alabama CMA holding door for man on crutches

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Moody AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. 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 support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Alabama law, some elect 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

Moody Alabama CMA reading to senior man in nursing homeUnlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Moody AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Moody AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

Moody Alabama young woman taking online medical assistant trainingThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to attend 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 degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Moody AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Moody AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you select 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 intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 either 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 normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Moody AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Moody AL area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Moody health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Moody AL area and ask 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 indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's important that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Train to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Moody

Enroll in the Right Moody Medical Assistant School

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays 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 organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Moody Alabama.




 

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