How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Near Moody Alabama
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Moody AL, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
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The Responsibilities 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
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Moody AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one 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 alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Moody AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Moody AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Moody AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Moody AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on 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. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Moody AL area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Moody healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating 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 students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Moody Medical Assistant School
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Moody Alabama.