School and Ranking Information
While aspiring medical assistants (MAs) have more than 25 schools to choose from within 50 miles of downtown Atlanta, there are only a few public schools that offer medical assisting programs in that area.
- Winner: Atlanta Technical College was the area's best school with a graduation rate of 23%, a medical assisting diploma program and a campus located right in Atlanta.
- Runner-Up #1: Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta offers a medical assisting diploma program. This college awarded 32 medical assisting diplomas in 2011-2012.
- Runner-Up #2: Southern Crescent Technical College, located around 31 miles from the city, had a graduation rate of 29% and also offers a medical assisting diploma program.
Medical assistant programs typically have specific admission requirements, which may include a physical examination, current immunizations, CPR certification, a criminal background check and proof of health insurance. Certification is not a requirement, but many employers prefer to hire MAs who have certification, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Once a student completes a training program, he or she can obtain certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), or the American Medical Technologists (AMT).
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Atlanta Technical College||Chattahoochee Technical College||Southern Crescent Technical College|
|Location||Atlanta, GA||Marietta, GA (15.7 miles from downtown Atlanta, GA)||Griffin, GA (31.4 miles from downtown Atlanta, GA)|
|School Type||2-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$2,242 (in-state, undergraduate); $4,162 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*||$2,289 (in-state, undergraduate); $4,209 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*||$2,282 (in-state, undergraduate); $4,202 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*|
|Medical Assisting Award Levels Offered||Diploma||Diploma, associate degree||Diploma|
|Medical Assisting Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||27*||32 (diploma only)*||29*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class||23%*||12%*||29%*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator
Winner: Atlanta Technical College
- Academic & Learning Support Services offers open computer labs, library and media services, tutoring services and a learning support center
- College offers day, evening and even online courses
- Atlanta Technical College has a 90% job placement rate for graduates, according to the school
The medical assisting diploma program at Atlanta Technical College requires that students complete 61 credit hours. In addition to typical admission requirements, applicants must also have dental screenings and attend an orientation session. Students complete 9 credits of basics skills courses, with the remainder being technical courses, such as medical terminology, medical office procedures, administrative practice management, pharmacology and medical assisting skills. Additionally, each student must complete an unpaid 225-hour externship at a medical facility.
Students learn about medical office emergency procedures, administration of medication, infection control and OSHA guidelines. A seminar course helps participants prepare for employment and review for the certification exam. Upon program completion, graduates are ready to sit for the CMA and RMA certification exams; students must sit for at least one of the exams to graduate.
Runner-Up #1: Chattahoochee Technical College
- Georgia's largest technical college with classes at eight campuses, according to the school
- Offers 'SOAR into College Early' program for high school students
- Prerequisite courses for MA program offered online and at multiple campuses
Students interested in medical assisting training at Chattahoochee Technical College have the choice of taking a 61-credit diploma program or pursuing a medical assisting associate degree. Candidates interested in the MA program must first take the Health Care Assistant Certificate program to complete the prerequisite courses. There is no waiting list for this program, but it is competitive so admission requirements must be met. The MA curriculum includes basic skills and general education courses, occupational courses and medical assisting courses.
If prerequisite courses are completed, the occupational MA courses can be completed in three semesters. The curriculum for the associate degree program is similar to the diploma program but has more general education courses and requires 70 credits. Topping off both programs is a clinical externship where students put to use what was learned in class and gain training in a real medical setting. Graduates qualify for the CMA certification exam.
Runner-Up #2: Southern Crescent Technical College
- One of the state's largest technical colleges
- Medical laboratories offer up-to-date medical equipment
- MA program offers flexibility through day and evening classes.
Serving ten counties with almost 200 academic programs, Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC) offers a medical assisting diploma program that can be completed in 5 or 6 terms. An applicant must meet traditional admission requirements, have a dental exam and drug screening and must complete prerequisite courses prior to admission to the program. Day classes are offered in the Fall and Spring, with evening classes every 4th term.
The curriculum offers MA courses, such as medical office procedures, legal and ethical concerns in the medical office, medical assisting skills, human pathological conditions in the medical office, pharmacology and medical terminology. A clinical externship provides students with hands-on training working in a medical setting, while the seminar course helps prepare the student for the certification exam and future employment as an MA. The MA program is offered at both the Griffin and Flint River campuses.