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How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama CMA carrying patient chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Troy AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may want to take a look at some 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 relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Troy Alabama medical assistant holding door for patient on crutches

Medical assistants play an important role in the modern healthcare industry, providing assistance to other professionals and helping attend to patients. A medical assistant’s typical job responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations; taking medical histories; administering medication as requested by the attending physician; performing electrocardiograms; changing wound dressings or removing stitches; collecting samples for lab testing; serving as liaisons between doctors and patients; and fulfilling various administrative functions. These cross-disciplinary medical professionals work across various Alabama healthcare settings, concentrated in Troy outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other ambulatory care facilities. In some cases, CMAs (Certified Medical Assistants) have additional specialized certifications allowing them to fulfill other clinical responsibilities. For example, a CMA with a specialization in chiropractic care may assist a chiropractor during an adjustment, whereas a medical assistant who works in the office of an optometrist or ophthalmologist may help with an eye examination.

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Troy Alabama CMA reading to senior patient in assisted living facilityIn contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Troy AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine 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 normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Troy AL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Troy Alabama young woman attending online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Troy AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Troy AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Troy AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Troy AL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Troy health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Troy AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need 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 conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in Troy

Enroll in the Right Troy Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether 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 get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially 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 made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Troy Alabama.




 

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