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Become a Medical Assistant Marana AZ 85652

How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Program near Marana Arizona

Marana AZ medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Marana AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all 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 type of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Marana AZ medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Marana 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 an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain 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

Marana AZ medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Marana AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Marana Arizona woman attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Marana AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Marana AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as 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 students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Marana AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Marana AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Marana AZ area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Marana health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? 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. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Marana AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marana AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Marana AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Marana AZ.