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Become a Medical Assistant Casa Grande AZ 85121

How to Pick the Right CMA Program near Casa Grande Arizona

Casa Grande AZ CMA with patient chartOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?

When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Casa Grande AZ, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you select health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Casa Grande AZ CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may 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
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses

Casa Grande AZ medical assistant welcoming patientCompared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Casa Grande 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 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Casa Grande AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Casa Grande AZ student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Casa Grande AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing 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 closest to Casa Grande AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Casa Grande AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school'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 college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Arizona schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Casa Grande AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Casa Grande medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Casa Grande AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment 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 full-time, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain 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 any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Casa Grande AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right 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 must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Casa Grande AZ.