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Become a Medical Assistant Glendale AZ 85301

How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA School Program near Glendale Arizona

Glendale AZ medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glendale AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Glendale AZ CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Glendale AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training

Glendale AZ medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Glendale AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Glendale Arizona woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue working full-time while attaining 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 textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Glendale AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, 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 help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Glendale AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Glendale AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching programs. To assist 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 confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on 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 hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, 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 choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring 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 one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Glendale AZ area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Glendale health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small 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 practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Glendale AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get 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 selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glendale AZ.