Home >> Arizona >> El Mirage >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant El Mirage AZ 85307

How to Enroll In the Best CMA Degree Program near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage AZ CMA holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of Medical Assistants

El Mirage AZ CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some 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
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty 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

El Mirage AZ CMA welcoming patient on crutchesUnlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many El Mirage AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some 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 usually 2 year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

El Mirage AZ woman attending medical assistant program onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for individuals 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 solution for Arizona students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in El Mirage AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential El Mirage AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to El Mirage AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, 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 Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective El Mirage AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Arizona schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with El Mirage AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the El Mirage health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the El Mirage AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller 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 sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best El Mirage AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon 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, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ.