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How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley Arizona medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start 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.

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

The Duties of Medical Assistants

San Tan Valley Arizona medical assistant greeting man using crutches

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the San Tan Valley AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Courses

San Tan Valley Arizona CMA reading to senior patient in assisted living facilityIn contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of San Tan Valley AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest 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 developed 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 two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential San Tan Valley AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

San Tan Valley Arizona young woman taking online medical assistant trainingThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in San Tan Valley AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to San Tan Valley AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, 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 School's Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with San Tan Valley AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the San Tan Valley medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the San Tan Valley AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in San Tan Valley

Enroll in the Right San Tan Valley Medical Assistant College

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch 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 information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Tan Valley Arizona.




 

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