How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant Training Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have decided to join 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 furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right 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 cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
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Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Glendale AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Glendale AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Glendale AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Glendale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Glendale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program'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. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Glendale AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Glendale healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant School
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.