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How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program Near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona medical assistant holding patient filesOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Phoenix AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the kind of credentials and training that are available.

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Medical Assistant Training Programs

Phoenix Arizona medical assistant reading to senior man in nursing homeCompared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Phoenix AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Phoenix AZ medical employers just 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Phoenix Arizona young woman taking online medical assistant coursesThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might 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 working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Phoenix AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Phoenix AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the school you select 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 intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Phoenix AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Phoenix AZ area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Phoenix medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Phoenix AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies 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 personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

How to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Phoenix

Enroll in the Right Phoenix Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right 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 obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Phoenix Arizona.




 

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