How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to 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 a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Role of Medical Assistants
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
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Fountain Hills AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest 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 developed 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 usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Fountain Hills AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Fountain Hills AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fountain Hills AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Fountain Hills AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. 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 avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Fountain Hills AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Fountain Hills healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Fountain Hills AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad 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 throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Medical Assistant School
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in healthcare 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 prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fountain Hills Arizona.