Home >> Alabama >> Pelham >> Medical Assistant Schools Near Me


Receive Free Info on CMA Training Programs Pelham AL 35007

How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Near Pelham Alabama

Pelham Alabama CMA holding patient filesNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pelham AL, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Pelham Alabama medical assistant greeting man using crutches

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Pelham AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

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

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Pelham Alabama CMA reading to senior patient in assisted living facilityIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Pelham AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community 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 practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Pelham AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Pelham Alabama young woman taking online medical assistant classesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Pelham AL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Pelham AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore 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 choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, 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 enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Pelham AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes 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, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Pelham AL area healthcare providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Pelham healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Pelham AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program 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 school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Pelham

Enroll in the Right Pelham Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative 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 planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Pelham Alabama.




 

Pelham Medical Assistant Schools | Pelham Medical Assistant Schools Near Me | Pelham Medical Assistant Training