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How to Select the Right Medical Assistant School Near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama medical assistant holding patient filesNow that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Moody AL, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide 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 college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Moody Alabama medical assistant holding door for man on crutches

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Moody AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

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

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs

Moody Alabama CMA working with senior patient in skilled nursing facilityIn contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Moody AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied 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 a good option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Moody AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Moody Alabama young female taking online medical assistant coursesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend 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 additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Moody AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Moody AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Moody AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin 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 example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program'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. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Moody AL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Moody healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Moody AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Train to Be a CMA in Moody

Enroll in the Right Moody Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper 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 lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose 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 kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Moody Alabama.




 

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