How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Anthem AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Role of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Anthem AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Anthem AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Anthem AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Anthem AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Anthem AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the school 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Anthem AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask 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. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Anthem AZ area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Anthem medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Anthem AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anthem AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anthem Medical Assistant College
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly 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 on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Anthem Arizona.