How to Select an Accredited CMA Training School near Buckeye Arizona
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buckeye AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 also. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Buckeye AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing 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 doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Buckeye AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to 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 often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Buckeye AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Buckeye AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Buckeye AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Buckeye 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 Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally 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 opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Buckeye AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Buckeye healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Buckeye AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care 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 might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting 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 college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Buckeye AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's essential 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 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 right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Buckeye AZ.