How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Duties of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants play an important role in the modern healthcare industry, providing assistance to other professionals and helping attend to patients. A medical assistant’s typical job responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations; taking medical histories; administering medication as requested by the attending physician; performing electrocardiograms; changing wound dressings or removing stitches; collecting samples for lab testing; serving as liaisons between doctors and patients; and fulfilling various administrative functions. These cross-disciplinary medical professionals work across various Arizona healthcare settings, concentrated in Goodyear outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other ambulatory care facilities. In some cases, CMAs (Certified Medical Assistants) have additional specialized certifications allowing them to fulfill other clinical responsibilities. For example, a CMA with a specialization in chiropractic care may assist a chiropractor during an adjustment, whereas a medical assistant who works in the office of an optometrist or ophthalmologist may help with an eye examination.
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, 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 have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Goodyear AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Goodyear AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 agencies 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer 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 indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will 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.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection 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 a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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 selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Goodyear Arizona.