How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care 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 evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 important factors as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Maricopa AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Maricopa AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work 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 programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Maricopa AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Maricopa AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Maricopa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine 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 naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest 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 receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Maricopa AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Maricopa medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Maricopa AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Medical Assistant Course
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish 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 life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Maricopa Arizona.