How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program near Scottsdale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" 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 available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Scottsdale AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Scottsdale 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 available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Scottsdale AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for Arizona students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Scottsdale AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Scottsdale AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Scottsdale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Scottsdale AZ area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Scottsdale medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Scottsdale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Scottsdale AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Scottsdale AZ.