How to Pick an Accredited CMA Program near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chandler AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
Why Study to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Chandler AZ, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you decide on health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can 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 options 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
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, 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 program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Chandler AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for Arizona students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Chandler AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Chandler AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Chandler AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program'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. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Arizona colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Chandler AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Chandler healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Chandler AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college 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 college while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Chandler AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Chandler AZ.