How to Select the Best Medical Assistant Degree Program Near Eloy Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Eloy AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Eloy AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Eloy AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Eloy AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for those 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 option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Eloy AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Eloy AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Eloy AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school'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 school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Eloy AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Eloy health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Eloy AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eloy AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Eloy Medical Assistant School
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Eloy Arizona.