How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to select health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a 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 normally 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lake Havasu City AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded 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 be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students 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 alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Lake Havasu City AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lake Havasu City AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Lake Havasu City AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school'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. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Arizona colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Lake Havasu City AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Lake Havasu City healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in healthcare 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 so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lake Havasu City AZ.