How to Find the Right CMA Training School near Queen Creek Arizona
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Queen Creek AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective 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 might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Queen Creek AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer 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 Training
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Queen Creek AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Queen Creek AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Queen Creek AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Queen Creek AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Queen Creek AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Queen Creek healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Queen Creek AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek AZ.