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How to Find the Best Medical Assistant School Near Queen Creek Arizona

Queen Creek Arizona CMA carrying patient filesNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Queen Creek 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 ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit 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 Duties of Medical Assistants

Queen Creek Arizona CMA greeting man using crutches

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Queen Creek AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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

Queen Creek Arizona medical assistant reading to senior patient in assisted living facilityIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Queen Creek AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Queen Creek AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

Queen Creek Arizona young female attending online medical assistant coursesThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to attend 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Queen Creek AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Queen Creek AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Queen Creek AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Queen Creek medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers 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 likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Become a Certified Medical Assistant in Queen Creek

Enroll in the Right Queen Creek Medical Assistant Program

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek Arizona.




 

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