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Become a Medical Assistant Mesa AZ 85142

How to Select an Accredited CMA Course near Mesa Arizona

Mesa AZ CMA holding patient chartOnce you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mesa AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Mesa AZ CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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

Mesa AZ medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesCompared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Mesa AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Classes

Mesa Arizona woman attending medical assistant school onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Mesa AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Mesa AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected 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 have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Mesa AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Mesa AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in 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. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 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 require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Arizona colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Mesa AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Mesa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Mesa AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies 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 instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Mesa AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare 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 selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Mesa AZ.