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How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Degree Program Near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona medical assistant carrying patient recordsOnce you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 important issues as well. You may want to research 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 finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Glendale Arizona CMA holding door for patient using crutches

The most versatile health professional in any Arizona healthcare setting, a medical assistant juggles both clinical and administrative assignments. Medical assistants often initiate medical appointments by escorting patients to examination rooms, taking vital signs and preparing the room for the next member of the medical team. They also handle a range of office tasks, from coding medical records to scheduling office visits. As a medical assistant, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills as you work with patients in pain and distress. You’ll also work closely with other Glendale medical professionals, often facing a great deal of pressure. Other traits that will serve you well: analytical skills (crucial for interpreting medical charts and diagnoses) and a penchant for detailed work.

Medical Assistant Training

Glendale Arizona CMA working with senior patient in assisted living facilityCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Glendale AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Glendale AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify 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. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Glendale Arizona young female taking online medical assistant coursesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Glendale AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Glendale AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Glendale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Glendale AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Glendale healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Train to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Glendale

Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.




 

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