How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Avondale Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Avondale AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Avondale AZ, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Avondale AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Avondale AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals 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 offered at Arizona junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Avondale AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for students 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 alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Avondale AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Avondale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Avondale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Avondale AZ area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Avondale medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Avondale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small 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 practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will 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 responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Avondale AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, 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 made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Avondale AZ.