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How to Select the Best Medical Assistant Training School Near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear Arizona medical assistant carrying patient chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Goodyear Arizona CMA holding door for man using crutches

The most versatile health professional in any Arizona healthcare setting, a medical assistant juggles both clinical and administrative assignments. Medical assistants often initiate medical appointments by escorting patients to examination rooms, taking vital signs and preparing the room for the next member of the medical team. They also handle a range of office tasks, from coding medical records to scheduling office visits. As a medical assistant, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills as you work with patients in pain and distress. You’ll also work closely with other Goodyear medical professionals, often facing a great deal of pressure. Other traits that will serve you well: analytical skills (crucial for interpreting medical charts and diagnoses) and a penchant for detailed work.

Medical Assistant Education

Goodyear Arizona medical assistant working with senior patient in assisted living facilityIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Goodyear AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Goodyear AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Goodyear Arizona young woman attending online medical assistant coursesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Goodyear AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Goodyear AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Goodyear AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school'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. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one 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 community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Goodyear AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

How to Be a Medical Assistant in Goodyear

Enroll in the Right Goodyear Medical Assistant College

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Goodyear Arizona.




 

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