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Become a Medical Assistant Auburn AL 36801

How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant School Program near Auburn Alabama

Auburn AL medical assistant with medical chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Auburn AL, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Auburn AL CMA taking vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Auburn AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs

Auburn AL CMA opening door for patient on crutchesCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Auburn AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at Alabama community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

Auburn Alabama student attending medical assistant online classesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for Alabama students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Auburn AL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Auburn AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Auburn AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Auburn AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Alabama accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially 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, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Alabama colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Auburn AL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Auburn health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Auburn AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention 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 couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Right Auburn AL Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Auburn AL.