How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Drexel Heights AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start 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 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 Education
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn 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 are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Drexel Heights AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Drexel Heights AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Drexel Heights AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Drexel Heights AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn 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 example, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school'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 school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Drexel Heights AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Drexel Heights healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Drexel Heights AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates 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 positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may 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 might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Medical Assistant Classes
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Drexel Heights Arizona.