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How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Training School Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama CMA carrying patient chartOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Troy AL, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by evaluating 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 critical issues also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Role of Medical Assistants

Troy Alabama medical assistant holding door for patient on crutches

So what do medical assistants do? These professionals typically work in Troy AL physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. They’re responsible for both clinical and administrative tasks, taking on varied responsibilities such as answering phones; managing appointment schedules; maintaining patient records; greeting patients; coding medical information; processing billing and bookkeeping; coordinating services with other healthcare providers; recording medical histories; collecting lab samples; cleaning examination rooms; and doing basic lab tests. Some of these healthcare professionals may even draw blood, administer medication, perform electrocardiograms, remove stitches, discard biohazardous waste, and change wound dressings. These duties vary based on experience, specialized training, certification, and even state of practice.

Medical Assistant Courses

Troy Alabama CMA working with senior man in skilled nursing facilityIn contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Troy AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain 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 designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Troy AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Troy Alabama young woman taking online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible 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 conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Troy AL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend 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 students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Troy AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Troy AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Troy AL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Troy healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm 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 students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

How to Be a CMA in Troy

Enroll in the Right Troy Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Troy Alabama.




 

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