How to Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to choose 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 best one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
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The Function of a Medical Assistant
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
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Glendale AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Glendale AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available 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 numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Glendale AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Glendale AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Glendale AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Glendale healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might 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.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant Program
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering 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, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged 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 decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.