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How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant Degree Program Near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley Arizona CMA holding patient recordsOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Prescott Valley AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal 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 lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

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

The Function of Medical Assistants

Prescott Valley Arizona medical assistant greeting man on crutches

The most versatile health professional in any Arizona healthcare setting, a medical assistant juggles both clinical and administrative assignments. Medical assistants often initiate medical appointments by escorting patients to examination rooms, taking vital signs and preparing the room for the next member of the medical team. They also handle a range of office tasks, from coding medical records to scheduling office visits. As a medical assistant, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills as you work with patients in pain and distress. You’ll also work closely with other Prescott Valley medical professionals, often facing a great deal of pressure. Other traits that will serve you well: analytical skills (crucial for interpreting medical charts and diagnoses) and a penchant for detailed work.

Medical Assistant Training

Prescott Valley Arizona CMA working with senior man in assisted living facilityUnlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Prescott Valley AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 healthcare facility. 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Prescott Valley AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Prescott Valley Arizona young female attending online medical assistant classesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Prescott Valley AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Prescott Valley AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Prescott Valley AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing 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 program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Prescott Valley AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Prescott Valley healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Prescott Valley AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Train to Be a Certified Medical Assistant in Prescott Valley

Enroll in the Right Prescott Valley Medical Assistant School

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Prescott Valley Arizona.




 

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