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Become a Medical Assistant Goodyear AZ 85139

How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Degree Program near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear AZ medical assistant with patient chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Goodyear AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, 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 briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Goodyear AZ CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is ensure that the Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

Goodyear AZ medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesCompared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, 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 school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Goodyear Arizona woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Goodyear AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Goodyear AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential 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 not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Goodyear AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school'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 paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

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

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide 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 an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Goodyear AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Goodyear AZ.