Home >> Arizona >> Casas Adobes >> How To Become A Medical Assistant


Become a Medical Assistant Casas Adobes AZ 85704

How to Choose the Right CMA Training School near Casas Adobes Arizona

Casas Adobes AZ medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Casas Adobes AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

Why Study to Become a CMA?

When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Casas Adobes AZ, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Casas Adobes AZ medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Casas Adobes AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Courses

Casas Adobes AZ medical assistant opening door for patientCompared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Casas Adobes AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Casas Adobes AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Casas Adobes AZ student attending medical assistant online classesThere are many 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 accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Casas Adobes AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Casas Adobes AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating 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 ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Casas Adobes AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 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 junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Casas Adobes AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Casas Adobes medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Casas Adobes AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere 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 select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Casas Adobes AZ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Right Casas Adobes AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care 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 offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Casas Adobes AZ.