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How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training School Near Drexel Heights Arizona

Drexel Heights Arizona medical assistant carrying patient filesNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Drexel Heights AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Job of Medical Assistants

Drexel Heights Arizona CMA greeting patient using crutches

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Drexel Heights Arizona CMA working with senior man in nursing homeCompared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Drexel Heights AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade 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 training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Drexel Heights AZ medical employers just will not hire 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

Drexel Heights Arizona young female attending online medical assistant trainingThere 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 fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed 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 mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Drexel Heights AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Drexel Heights AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Drexel Heights AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Drexel Heights health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing 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 interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Drexel Heights AZ area and ask 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator 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 teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to see 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 program while you continue working full time, it's essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need 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 program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

How to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Drexel Heights

Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Medical Assistant Course

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon 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 particularly important if you plan on 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 on-campus or online school, make sure 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 subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Drexel Heights Arizona.




 

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