How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Scottsdale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 factors also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Scottsdale AZ, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What made you pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Scottsdale AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few 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
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Scottsdale AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at Arizona junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Scottsdale AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arizona students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Scottsdale 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 receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Scottsdale AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Scottsdale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Scottsdale AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Scottsdale healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Scottsdale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates 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 Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Scottsdale AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right 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 need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Scottsdale AZ.