How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program near Queen Creek Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Queen Creek AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Queen Creek AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Queen Creek AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically two year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Queen Creek AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, 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 may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Queen Creek AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Queen Creek AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Queen Creek AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Queen Creek health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need 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 issues.
Enroll in the Best Queen Creek AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek AZ.