How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Queen Creek 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 Queen Creek AZ, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to research 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 complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short 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 Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Queen Creek AZ, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you select health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Queen Creek AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. 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 responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities 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
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Queen Creek AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational 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 clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four 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 requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Queen Creek AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Queen Creek AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Queen Creek AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Queen Creek AZ employers will not employ 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 colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs 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 focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Queen Creek medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to observe 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 to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night 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 also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Queen Creek AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered 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 intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek AZ.