How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Now that 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 provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by researching 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 very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
If you want a meaningful career in healthcare, Medical Assisting is a great starting point. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who may administer medications, assist with minor procedures, record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for examinations, handle laboratory specimens, provide patient education, and much more. Because of the specialized skill set and knowledge that is held by these professionals, they find themselves working in Drexel Heights AZ clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices across the country.
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Drexel Heights AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive 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 element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Drexel Heights AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Drexel Heights AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Drexel Heights AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following 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 a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Drexel Heights AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Drexel Heights AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Drexel Heights health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Drexel Heights AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to see 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 college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still 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 might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Medical Assistant Classes
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college 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 pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on 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 organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless 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, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Drexel Heights Arizona.