How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care 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 right one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide 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 program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several 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 training and credentials that are offered.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Casa Grande AZ, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job 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 healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, 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 essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 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 requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Casa Grande AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arizona students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Casa Grande AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Casa Grande AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good 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. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Casa Grande AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at 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, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Casa Grande AZ area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Casa Grande medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Casa Grande AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Casa Grande AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. 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, don't forget 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 start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Casa Grande AZ.