How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Moody AL, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching 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, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
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The Job 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 Moody 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Moody AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 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 usually take about 1 year to complete, some 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 usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually 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 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Moody AL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Moody AL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Moody AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Moody AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Moody AL area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Moody health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Moody AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Moody Medical Assistant School
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind 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 supplied 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 Moody Alabama.