How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program Near San Tan Valley Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the type of training and credentials that are available.
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Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of San Tan Valley AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover 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 obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available 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 liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible San Tan Valley AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in San Tan Valley AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to San Tan Valley AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential San Tan Valley AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out 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 eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with San Tan Valley AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the San Tan Valley medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the San Tan Valley 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 medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right San Tan Valley Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program 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 practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in San Tan Valley Arizona.