How to Find an Accredited CMA Course near Marana Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Marana AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Marana AZ, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Marana AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending 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 may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Marana AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Marana AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Marana AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Marana AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Marana AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Arizona schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Marana AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Marana healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Marana AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's important that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marana AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Marana AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Marana AZ.