Home >> Alabama >> Tuscaloosa >> Online Medical Assistant Programs


Get Free Info on CMA Certificates or Degrees Tuscaloosa AL 35401

How to Select the Best Medical Assistant School Program Near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa Alabama CMA holding patient filesNow that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Tuscaloosa AL, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may 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 before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!

The Function of Medical Assistants

Tuscaloosa Alabama medical assistant greeting patient using crutches

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Courses

Tuscaloosa Alabama CMA working with senior patient in nursing homeCompared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Tuscaloosa AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive 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 component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Tuscaloosa AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Tuscaloosa Alabama young woman attending online medical assistant trainingThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Tuscaloosa AL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, 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. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Tuscaloosa AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Tuscaloosa AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask 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 evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Tuscaloosa AL area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Tuscaloosa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Tuscaloosa AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates 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 Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's important that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

How to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Tuscaloosa

Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa Medical Assistant Course

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important 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 on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Tuscaloosa Alabama.




 

Tuscaloosa Medical Assistant Degrees | Tuscaloosa Online Medical Assistant Programs | Tuscaloosa Certified Medical Assistant Programs