How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant Program near Buckeye Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buckeye AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Buckeye AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Buckeye AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Buckeye AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Buckeye AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating 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 from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Buckeye AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Buckeye 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 Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Arizona colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Buckeye AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Buckeye medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching 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 suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may 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 might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Buckeye AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right 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 upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Buckeye AZ.