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Become a Medical Assistant Chandler AZ 85224

How to Pick the Right CMA Training Program near Chandler Arizona

Chandler AZ CMA with medical chartOnce you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chandler AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 critical issues also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Chandler AZ medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

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

Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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

Chandler AZ CMA greeting patientCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Chandler AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Chandler AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Chandler AZ student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Chandler AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Chandler AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Chandler AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Chandler AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Chandler healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Chandler AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Chandler AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Chandler AZ.