How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
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The Role of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants play an important role in the modern healthcare industry, providing assistance to other professionals and helping attend to patients. A medical assistant’s typical job responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations; taking medical histories; administering medication as requested by the attending physician; performing electrocardiograms; changing wound dressings or removing stitches; collecting samples for lab testing; serving as liaisons between doctors and patients; and fulfilling various administrative functions. These cross-disciplinary medical professionals work across various Arizona healthcare settings, concentrated in Catalina Foothills outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other ambulatory care facilities. In some cases, CMAs (Certified Medical Assistants) have additional specialized certifications allowing them to fulfill other clinical responsibilities. For example, a CMA with a specialization in chiropractic care may assist a chiropractor during an adjustment, whereas a medical assistant who works in the office of an optometrist or ophthalmologist may help with an eye examination.
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Catalina Foothills AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Catalina Foothills AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, 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 offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Catalina Foothills AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Catalina Foothills AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Catalina Foothills AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Catalina Foothills AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Catalina Foothills health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills Medical Assistant College
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Catalina Foothills Arizona.