How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Queen Creek Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Queen Creek AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Queen Creek AZ, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Queen Creek AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Queen Creek AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Queen Creek AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Queen Creek AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing 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. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Queen Creek AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you choose 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 intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Queen Creek AZ employers will not employ 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 colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Arizona schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Queen Creek AZ area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Queen Creek health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Queen Creek AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small 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 possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need 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 more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Queen Creek AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Queen Creek AZ.