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Become a Medical Assistant Chandler AZ 85224

How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Chandler Arizona

Chandler AZ medical assistant with medical chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chandler AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools 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 type of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Chandler AZ medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

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

Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Chandler AZ CMA opening door for patient on crutchesIn 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 Chandler 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 available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Chandler AZ woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Chandler AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Chandler AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Chandler AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, 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 must complete 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective 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 develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Arizona colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Chandler AZ area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Chandler healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges 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 graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Right Chandler AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. 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 certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Chandler AZ.