How to Find an Accredited CMA Course near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to research 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 carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" 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.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Goodyear AZ, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What made you decide on health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Education
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Goodyear AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at Arizona community and junior 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 classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Goodyear AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Goodyear AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Goodyear AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Goodyear health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Goodyear AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend 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 have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges 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, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Goodyear AZ.