How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Near Mesa Arizona
Once 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 choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
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The Function of Medical Assistants
So what do medical assistants do? These professionals typically work in Mesa AZ physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. They’re responsible for both clinical and administrative tasks, taking on varied responsibilities such as answering phones; managing appointment schedules; maintaining patient records; greeting patients; coding medical information; processing billing and bookkeeping; coordinating services with other healthcare providers; recording medical histories; collecting lab samples; cleaning examination rooms; and doing basic lab tests. Some of these healthcare professionals may even draw blood, administer medication, perform electrocardiograms, remove stitches, discard biohazardous waste, and change wound dressings. These duties vary based on experience, specialized training, certification, and even state of practice.
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Mesa AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Mesa AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Mesa AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Mesa AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Mesa AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Mesa AZ area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Mesa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm 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 graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small 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 practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mesa AZ, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mesa Medical Assistant Course
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Mesa Arizona.