How to Find the Best Medical Assistant School Near Queen Creek Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Queen Creek AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Queen Creek AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Queen Creek AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Queen Creek AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps 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 exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Queen Creek AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Queen Creek AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, 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 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Queen Creek AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can 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 Offered? Getting that first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, verify 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 clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Queen Creek Medical Assistant School
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek Arizona.