How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant School near El Mirage Arizona
Once you have decided to enter 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 furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most 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 cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near El Mirage AZ, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide 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. Primarily their job is to make sure that the El Mirage AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support 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 possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of El Mirage 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 offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential El Mirage AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in El Mirage AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to El Mirage AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, 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 School's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on 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 methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with El Mirage AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the El Mirage health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the El Mirage AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best El Mirage AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ.