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Become a Medical Assistant Gilbert AZ 85142

How to Select the Right CMA Course near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert AZ medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Gilbert AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Gilbert AZ medical assistant taking blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties 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 samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Programs

Gilbert AZ medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Gilbert AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Gilbert AZ student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Gilbert AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Gilbert AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Gilbert AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Gilbert AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just 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 prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Arizona schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Gilbert AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Gilbert healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Gilbert AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Gilbert AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Gilbert AZ.