How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Training School near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to select a college 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 start by researching 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 critical issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What drove you to choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting 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
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt 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 Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, 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 would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Lake Havasu City AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly 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 examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Lake Havasu City AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lake Havasu City AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible 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 last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Lake Havasu City AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop 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 reviewing are preparing their students for. 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 compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the Arizona schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Lake Havasu City AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Lake Havasu City healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller 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 convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college 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 practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon 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, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be 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 start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lake Havasu City AZ.