How to Find an Accredited CMA Degree Program near Scottsdale Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Scottsdale AZ, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you select health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Scottsdale AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer 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) provided 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 have a college degree. However, a number of Scottsdale AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Scottsdale AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Scottsdale AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education 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.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Scottsdale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Scottsdale AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course 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. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest 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 get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Arizona schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Scottsdale AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Scottsdale health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking 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 Scottsdale AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships 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.
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 college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision 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 particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Scottsdale AZ.