Home >> Alabama >> Mobile >> Online Medical Assistant Programs


Become a Medical Assistant Mobile AL 36571

How to Enroll In the Right CMA Training Program near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL medical assistant with patient chartNow that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mobile 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 ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective 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 cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

The Role of Medical Assistants

Mobile AL medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Mobile AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Alabama law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs

Mobile AL CMA greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Mobile AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics 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 Alabama community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Courses

Mobile Alabama student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for Alabama students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Mobile AL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid 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 needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Mobile AL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Mobile AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Mobile AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of Alabama accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Alabama colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Mobile AL area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Mobile health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Mobile AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, 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 plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Mobile AL Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus 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 ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Mobile AL.