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Become a Medical Assistant Hoover AL 35022

How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hoover AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most future students begin by researching 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 very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Study to Become a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Hoover AL, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to decide on health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.

The Function of Medical Assistants

Hoover AL medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Hoover AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. 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 responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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

Hoover AL CMA welcoming patient on crutchesUnlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Hoover AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at Alabama community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Hoover AL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Hoover AL student attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for Alabama students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Hoover AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need 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 choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Hoover AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following 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 a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Hoover 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 colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Alabama schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Hoover AL area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Hoover medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that very first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Hoover 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 a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may 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.

Enroll in the Right Hoover AL Medical Assistant Training

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many 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, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hoover AL.