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Become a Medical Assistant Maricopa AZ 85138

How to Find the Best CMA Course near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa AZ medical assistant with medical chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maricopa AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Maricopa AZ, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assistance, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Maricopa AZ medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Maricopa AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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

Maricopa AZ medical assistant greeting patientCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Maricopa AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring 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.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Maricopa AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply 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 offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Maricopa AZ woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Maricopa AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Maricopa AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 approved 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Maricopa AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Maricopa AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Maricopa health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Maricopa AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Maricopa 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 still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Maricopa AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection 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 agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maricopa AZ.