How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training School Near Glendale Arizona
Once 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 select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Glendale AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of 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 basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Glendale AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Glendale AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Glendale AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to 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 college you enroll in 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 plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish 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 Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Medical Assistant College
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection 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 intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glendale Arizona.