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How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Program Near Marana Arizona

Marana Arizona CMA carrying patient chartNow that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Marana AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Marana Arizona medical assistant greeting patient using crutches

Medical assistants are specially-trained health care providers who work closely with patients, nurses, and doctors and perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks associated with running a medical office. Clinical duties a medical assistant performs include taking and recording a patient’s vital signs, collecting a patient’s medical history, assisting physicians with patient exams, giving injections or medications as directed by a physician, sterilizing medical supplies and disposing of medical waste. In addition to clinical work, medical assistants perform many administrative tasks such as updating and maintaining patient charts, assisting with medical billing, managing medical records, filing insurance claims and scheduling patient appointments. With a range of duties, Marana AZ medical assistants have the opportunity to participate in many of the day-to-day operations of a medical office, hospital department or private practice.

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Marana Arizona medical assistant working with senior man in nursing homeUnlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Marana AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Marana AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Marana Arizona young woman taking online medical assistant coursesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Marana AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Marana AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Marana AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, 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 of course 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 college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, 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 shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Marana AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Marana healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Marana AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe 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 full-time, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marana AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Marana

Enroll in the Right Marana Medical Assistant Course

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information 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 discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Marana Arizona.




 

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