How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Casa Grande AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Casa Grande AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at Arizona junior and community 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 usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Casa Grande AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Casa Grande AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at 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 limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Casa Grande AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each 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 make certain that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Casa Grande AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program'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 low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Casa Grande AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Casa Grande medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide 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 indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you select offers 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 might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Casa Grande AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Casa Grande AZ.