How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Program Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
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The Duties of a Medical Assistant
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 Maricopa AZ clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices across the country.
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Maricopa 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 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Maricopa AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Maricopa AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Maricopa AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive 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 Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Maricopa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out 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 concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Maricopa AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Maricopa health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Maricopa AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Medical Assistant Classes
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of 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, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maricopa Arizona.