How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Program near Auburn Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Auburn AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
Why Train to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Auburn AL, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Auburn AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Auburn AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at Alabama community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four 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 mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Auburn AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Alabama students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Auburn AL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Auburn AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Auburn AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Alabama accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get 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 receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Alabama colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Auburn AL area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Auburn healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Auburn AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates 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 positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Auburn AL Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Auburn AL.