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Become a Medical Assistant Goodyear AZ 85139

How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear AZ medical assistant with patient chartNow that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Goodyear AZ medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Goodyear AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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

Goodyear AZ medical assistant welcoming patientUnlike 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 prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

Goodyear Arizona woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Goodyear AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Goodyear AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below 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 School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Goodyear AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Goodyear 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller 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 monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Goodyear AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin 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 right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection 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 an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Goodyear AZ.