How to Select an Accredited Medical Assistant School Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
Why Train to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Casa Grande AZ, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn 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
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Casa Grande AZ health care employers prefer 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 shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Casa Grande AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students 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 to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Casa Grande AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Casa Grande AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 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, a number of potential Casa Grande AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths 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, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Casa Grande AZ area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Casa Grande healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Casa Grande AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, 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 Casa Grande AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed 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 anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Casa Grande AZ.