How to Find the Right CMA Training School near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare 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 approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 important issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular 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 Education
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Goodyear AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Goodyear AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Goodyear AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Goodyear AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Goodyear AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Goodyear AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Goodyear healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing 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 suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? 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 prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Goodyear AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing 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 select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. 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, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Goodyear AZ.