How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Course Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Once 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 college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer 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 Courses
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Drexel Heights AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Drexel Heights AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Drexel Heights AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine 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 by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential 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? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Drexel Heights AZ area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Drexel Heights health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide 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 students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night 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 also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might 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 issues.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Medical Assistant School
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Drexel Heights Arizona.