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How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama CMA carrying patient recordsNow that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Phenix City AL, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

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The Role of Medical Assistants

Phenix City Alabama medical assistant holding door for man on crutches

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs

Phenix City Alabama medical assistant working with senior patient in assisted living facilityUnlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Phenix City AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Phenix City AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Phenix City Alabama young woman taking online medical assistant trainingThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. 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 a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Phenix City AL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Phenix City AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Phenix City AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Phenix City AL area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Phenix City medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Phenix City 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

How to Be a CMA in Phenix City

Enroll in the Right Phenix City Medical Assistant Classes

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Phenix City Alabama.




 

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