How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Glendale Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Glendale AZ, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run 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 responsible for giving direct assistance 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 potential functions 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 instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered 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, many Glendale AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 usually 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Glendale AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arizona students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Glendale AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Glendale 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 should examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Glendale AZ employers will not employ 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 colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Glendale health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Glendale AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make 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 start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Glendale AZ.