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Become a Medical Assistant El Mirage AZ 85307

How to Find an Accredited CMA Course near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage AZ CMA holding patient chartOnce you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

Why Study to Become a CMA?

When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near El Mirage AZ, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

El Mirage AZ medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing 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 physicians
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses

El Mirage AZ CMA welcoming patientIn contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many El Mirage AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible El Mirage AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

El Mirage AZ student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical 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 going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure 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 closest to El Mirage AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive 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 Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered 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 Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Arizona schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with El Mirage AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the El Mirage medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the El Mirage AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best El Mirage AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ.