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Become a Medical Assistant Maricopa AZ 85138

How to Enroll In the Best CMA Course near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa AZ medical assistant with patient chartOnce you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Role of Medical Assistants

Maricopa AZ medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs

Maricopa AZ medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesCompared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Maricopa AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

Maricopa AZ student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option 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 to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Maricopa AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Maricopa AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Maricopa AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Maricopa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Maricopa AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Maricopa medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Maricopa AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher 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 large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator 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 teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Best Maricopa AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. 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 discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maricopa AZ.