How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students start 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges 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 training and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Goodyear AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Goodyear AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Goodyear AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Goodyear AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, 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 comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school 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. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Goodyear AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Goodyear AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies 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 get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Medical Assistant School
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college 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 need to get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless 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, 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 subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Goodyear Arizona.