How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Course Near Phoenix Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Phoenix AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
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The Duties of a Medical Assistant
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 Phoenix 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 Training
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Phoenix AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Phoenix AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Phoenix AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend 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 students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Phoenix AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Phoenix AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare 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 prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Phoenix AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Phoenix health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Phoenix AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Phoenix Medical Assistant Course
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing 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 certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Phoenix Arizona.