How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Douglas AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
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The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is ensure that the Douglas AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized 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 Education
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Douglas 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 basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Douglas AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Douglas AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching 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 Douglas AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Douglas AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Douglas AZ area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Douglas healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Douglas AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Douglas Medical Assistant College
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Douglas Arizona.