How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Troy AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Troy AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready 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 comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many 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 possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Troy AL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, 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 discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Troy AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Troy AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get 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 obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Troy AL area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Troy health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Troy AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Troy AL, make sure 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 might 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.
Enroll in the Right Troy Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Troy Alabama.