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How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona CMA carrying patient filesNow that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chandler AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

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The Job of Medical Assistants

Chandler Arizona medical assistant greeting patient using crutches

Medical assistants are specially-trained health care providers who work closely with patients, nurses, and doctors and perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks associated with running a medical office. Clinical duties a medical assistant performs include taking and recording a patient’s vital signs, collecting a patient’s medical history, assisting physicians with patient exams, giving injections or medications as directed by a physician, sterilizing medical supplies and disposing of medical waste. In addition to clinical work, medical assistants perform many administrative tasks such as updating and maintaining patient charts, assisting with medical billing, managing medical records, filing insurance claims and scheduling patient appointments. With a range of duties, Chandler AZ medical assistants have the opportunity to participate in many of the day-to-day operations of a medical office, hospital department or private practice.

Medical Assistant Courses

Chandler Arizona CMA working with senior patient in assisted living facilityUnlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Chandler AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical 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 classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, 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 getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Chandler AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Chandler Arizona young female taking online medical assistant classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Chandler AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Chandler AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 acknowledged agencies 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Chandler AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Chandler AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Chandler healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Chandler 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 signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Become a CMA in Chandler

Enroll in the Right Chandler Medical Assistant College

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether 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 need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Chandler Arizona.




 

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