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How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Course Near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona CMA holding patient chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Prescott AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin 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 also. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

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The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Prescott Arizona medical assistant holding door for patient using crutches

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 Prescott 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 Programs

Prescott Arizona CMA reading to senior patient in nursing homeUnlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Prescott 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 basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few 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 typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Prescott AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Prescott Arizona young female attending online medical assistant classesThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Prescott AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Prescott AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Prescott AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out 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 naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Prescott AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Prescott medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Prescott AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's important that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

How to Be a Medical Assistant in Prescott

Enroll in the Right Prescott Medical Assistant College

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 choosing the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Prescott Arizona.




 

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