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Become a Medical Assistant Buckeye AZ 85326

How to Select the Right CMA School Program near Buckeye Arizona

Buckeye AZ medical assistant with patient chartOnce you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buckeye AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of Medical Assistants

Buckeye AZ medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Buckeye AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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

Buckeye AZ CMA welcoming patient on crutchesCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Buckeye AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often 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 four 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 choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Buckeye AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Buckeye AZ student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Buckeye AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Buckeye AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating schools. 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 final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Buckeye AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program'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. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Arizona schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Buckeye AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Buckeye medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Buckeye AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Buckeye AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical 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 online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Buckeye AZ.