Home >> Arizona >> Goodyear >> Medical Assistant Classes


Become a Medical Assistant Goodyear AZ 85139

How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear AZ medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Train to Be a CMA?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Goodyear AZ, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Goodyear AZ CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate 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 physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered 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

Goodyear AZ medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Goodyear AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Goodyear AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

Goodyear AZ student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative 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 option for Arizona students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Goodyear AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, 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 opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask 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 assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Goodyear medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Goodyear AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout 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 practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere 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 working on a full time basis, it's important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Goodyear AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Goodyear AZ.