How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant Training Near Glendale Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick 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 lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
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The Responsibilities 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 many other healthcare practitioners, 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 school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred 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 an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Glendale AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for students 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 alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Glendale AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Glendale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, 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 school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Glendale health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching 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 students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant College
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.