Home >> Alabama >> Selma >> How To Become A Medical Assistant


Get Free Info on Medical Assistant Schools Selma AL 36701

How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant School Near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama medical assistant holding patient recordsOnce you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Selma AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 factors also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (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 qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role 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 Role of a Medical Assistant

Selma Alabama medical assistant holding door for patient using crutches

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Selma AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs

Selma Alabama CMA working with senior patient in nursing homeIn contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Selma AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Selma AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Selma Alabama young woman taking online medical assistant classesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Selma AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Selma AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Selma AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools 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 choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Selma AL area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Selma medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Selma AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Selma

Enroll in the Right Selma Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type 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 picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Selma Alabama.




 

Selma Medical Assistant Training | Selma How To Become A Medical Assistant | Selma Medical Assistant Courses