How to Find the Best Medical Assistant School Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Glendale AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Glendale AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But 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 healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Glendale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Glendale health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm 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 program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend 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 easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant Classes
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're planning 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 right info on available programs before making your selection. 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 discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.