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How to Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama medical assistant holding patient recordsOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Troy AL, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at 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 aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk 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

Troy Alabama medical assistant holding door for patient using crutches

If you want a meaningful career in healthcare, Medical Assisting is a great starting point. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who may administer medications, assist with minor procedures, record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for examinations, handle laboratory specimens, provide patient education, and much more. Because of the specialized skill set and knowledge that is held by these professionals, they find themselves working in Troy AL clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices across the country.

Medical Assistant Education

Troy Alabama medical assistant reading to senior patient in nursing homeIn contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Troy AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain 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 developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Troy AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 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 Courses

Troy Alabama young woman attending online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice 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 choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Troy AL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Troy AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Troy AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Troy AL area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Troy medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Troy AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Troy AL, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

How to Be a CMA in Troy

Enroll in the Right Troy Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many 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, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on 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 on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Troy Alabama.




 

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