How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant School Near Mesa Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mesa AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students start 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Mesa AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine 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 normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving 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 similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Mesa AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Mesa AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Mesa AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Mesa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing 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 colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Mesa AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Mesa health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Mesa AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide 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 receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mesa AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Mesa Medical Assistant Classes
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate 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 selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly 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 decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Mesa Arizona.