How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant Training School near Auburn Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Auburn AL, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Auburn AL, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Auburn AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Auburn AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at Alabama junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Auburn AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals 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 alternative for Alabama students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Auburn AL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Auburn AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Auburn AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Alabama accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Alabama schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Auburn AL area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Auburn healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Auburn AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe 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 college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you choose provides 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 available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Auburn AL Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Auburn AL.