How to Select the Right Medical Assistant School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Drexel Heights AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Duties of Medical Assistants
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, Drexel Heights 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 Training Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Drexel Heights AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical 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 Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Drexel Heights AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to go to 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Drexel Heights AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Drexel Heights AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Drexel Heights AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Drexel Heights AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Drexel Heights healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Drexel Heights AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Drexel Heights 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 also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Medical Assistant Classes
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Drexel Heights Arizona.