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Become a Medical Assistant San Tan Valley AZ 85128

How to Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Program near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley AZ CMA holding medical chartOnce you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Tan Valley AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

San Tan Valley AZ CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the San Tan Valley AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may 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 practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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 Courses

San Tan Valley AZ medical assistant greeting patientIn contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many San Tan Valley AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 Courses

San Tan Valley AZ student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for Arizona students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in San Tan Valley AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential San Tan Valley AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to San Tan Valley AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective San Tan Valley AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose 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 about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Arizona schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with San Tan Valley AZ area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the San Tan Valley health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the San Tan Valley 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 health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Best San Tan Valley AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're planning to begin 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 information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in San Tan Valley AZ.