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How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona medical assistant holding patient filesOnce you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" 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

Fountain Hills Arizona medical assistant greeting man using crutches

A Medical Assistant is a highly important and varied position within the Arizona healthcare field. Broadly speaking, a Medical Assistant is responsible for working alongside Fountain Hills physicians and nurses to provide support in administrative and clinical duties. In smaller practices, Medical Assistants will typically be involved in both administrative and clinical work. While in larger practices, Medical Assistants will often be devoted to one area or another and be highly specialized in their individual duties. Whatever role a Medial Assistant plays, it is vital to the overall organization and central to timely and appropriate care of patients.

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Fountain Hills Arizona CMA reading to senior patient in assisted living facilityCompared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Fountain Hills AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Fountain Hills AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Fountain Hills Arizona young female taking online medical assistant trainingThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Fountain Hills AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Fountain Hills AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Fountain Hills AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Fountain Hills AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Fountain Hills medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Fountain Hills AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to witness 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 imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all 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 responsibilities.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Fountain Hills

Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're goal 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 get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important 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 made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to 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 Fountain Hills Arizona.




 

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