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Become a Medical Assistant Marana AZ 85652

How to Pick the Right CMA Training School near Marana Arizona

Marana AZ medical assistant holding patient chartOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Marana AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching 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 factors as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 available.

The Job of Medical Assistants

Marana AZ CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Marana AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing 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
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect 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 CMA greeting patient on crutchesUnlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Marana AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Marana AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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 examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Marana Arizona student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for students 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 choice for Arizona students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Marana AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Marana AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Marana AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to 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 enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the Arizona schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Marana AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Marana healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide 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 affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Right Marana AZ Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Marana AZ.