How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Degree Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fountain Hills AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by researching 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the kind of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Fountain Hills 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 basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Fountain Hills AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Fountain Hills AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Fountain Hills AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Fountain Hills AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn 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 naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Fountain Hills AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Fountain Hills health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Fountain Hills AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates 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 jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Fountain Hills Arizona.