How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Mirage AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some elect 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many El Mirage AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in El Mirage AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential El Mirage AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to El Mirage AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you choose 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 must 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential El Mirage AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically 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, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with El Mirage AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the El Mirage healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating 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 an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention 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 teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school 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 choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right El Mirage AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ.