How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Near Glendale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
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The Duties of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants are specially-trained health care providers who work closely with patients, nurses, and doctors and perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks associated with running a medical office. Clinical duties a medical assistant performs include taking and recording a patient’s vital signs, collecting a patient’s medical history, assisting physicians with patient exams, giving injections or medications as directed by a physician, sterilizing medical supplies and disposing of medical waste. In addition to clinical work, medical assistants perform many administrative tasks such as updating and maintaining patient charts, assisting with medical billing, managing medical records, filing insurance claims and scheduling patient appointments. With a range of duties, Glendale AZ medical assistants have the opportunity to participate in many of the day-to-day operations of a medical office, hospital department or private practice.
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Glendale AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Glendale AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for those 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 choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Glendale AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Glendale AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Glendale healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant Course
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.