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How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training School Near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona medical assistant carrying patient filesNow that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Glendale Arizona CMA holding door for patient on crutches

If you want a meaningful career in healthcare, Medical Assisting is a great starting point. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who may administer medications, assist with minor procedures, record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for examinations, handle laboratory specimens, provide patient education, and much more. Because of the specialized skill set and knowledge that is held by these professionals, they find themselves working in Glendale AZ clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices across the country.

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Glendale Arizona CMA reading to senior man in skilled nursing facilityIn contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have 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 generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Glendale AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

Glendale Arizona young female taking online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Glendale AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice 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 Schools

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Glendale AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 organizations 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Glendale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Glendale AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Glendale health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Glendale

Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant Course

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.




 

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