How to Choose the Right CMA Training School near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative 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 important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Maricopa AZ, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to select health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Maricopa AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics 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 in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Maricopa AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Maricopa AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Maricopa AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Maricopa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask 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 programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Maricopa AZ area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Maricopa health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Maricopa AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Maricopa AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on 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 on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maricopa AZ.