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How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Near Paradise Valley Arizona

Paradise Valley Arizona medical assistant carrying patient recordsOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Paradise Valley AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Medical Assistant Career Below!

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Paradise Valley Arizona medical assistant holding door for patient on crutches

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Paradise Valley AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type 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 health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Paradise Valley Arizona medical assistant working with senior patient in skilled nursing facilityIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Paradise Valley 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 generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Paradise Valley AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

Paradise Valley Arizona young woman taking online medical assistant trainingThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Paradise Valley AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Paradise Valley AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Paradise Valley AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Paradise Valley AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Paradise Valley health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Paradise Valley AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Paradise Valley AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might 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 might 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.

Train to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Paradise Valley

Enroll in the Right Paradise Valley Medical Assistant Course

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Paradise Valley Arizona.




 

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