How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Catalina Foothills AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally 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 option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Catalina Foothills AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Catalina Foothills AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Catalina Foothills AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Catalina Foothills AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 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 approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Catalina Foothills AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Catalina Foothills medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on 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 on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Catalina Foothills AZ.