How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating 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 issues as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
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The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Goodyear AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Goodyear AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive 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 component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Goodyear AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Goodyear AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering 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, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Goodyear AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Goodyear AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Medical Assistant College
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. 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 addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Goodyear Arizona.