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Become a Medical Assistant Glendale AZ 85301

How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant School near Glendale Arizona

Glendale AZ medical assistant with medical chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession 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 enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of Medical Assistants

Glendale AZ CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Glendale AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care 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 facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Courses

Glendale AZ medical assistant welcoming patient on crutchesCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated 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 have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior 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 training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential 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 perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Glendale AZ student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Glendale AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide 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 choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Glendale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

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

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Glendale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms 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 positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in 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 program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Glendale AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in health 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 prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized 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 plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Glendale AZ.