How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Program Near New River Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near New River AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean 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 issues also. You may want 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 program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Role of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants play an important role in the modern healthcare industry, providing assistance to other professionals and helping attend to patients. A medical assistant’s typical job responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations; taking medical histories; administering medication as requested by the attending physician; performing electrocardiograms; changing wound dressings or removing stitches; collecting samples for lab testing; serving as liaisons between doctors and patients; and fulfilling various administrative functions. These cross-disciplinary medical professionals work across various Arizona healthcare settings, concentrated in New River outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other ambulatory care facilities. In some cases, CMAs (Certified Medical Assistants) have additional specialized certifications allowing them to fulfill other clinical responsibilities. For example, a CMA with a specialization in chiropractic care may assist a chiropractor during an adjustment, whereas a medical assistant who works in the office of an optometrist or ophthalmologist may help with an eye examination.
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of New River AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible New River AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have 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 pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in New River AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to New River AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective New River AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with New River AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the New River medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the New River AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to experience 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 working full-time, it's important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near New River AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right New River Medical Assistant College
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in New River Arizona.