How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Job of Medical Assistants
If you want a meaningful career in healthcare, Medical Assisting is a great starting point. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who may administer medications, assist with minor procedures, record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for examinations, handle laboratory specimens, provide patient education, and much more. Because of the specialized skill set and knowledge that is held by these professionals, they find themselves working in Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices across the country.
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Lake Havasu City AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Lake Havasu City AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lake Havasu City AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Lake Havasu City AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously 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 compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school'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 routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Lake Havasu City AZ area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Lake Havasu City healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lake Havasu City Arizona.