How to Find an Accredited CMA School Program near Scottsdale Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Scottsdale AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Scottsdale AZ, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assistance, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Scottsdale AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Scottsdale AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, 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 can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Scottsdale AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for Arizona students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Scottsdale AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend 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 covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Scottsdale AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program 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 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Scottsdale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Scottsdale AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Scottsdale health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Scottsdale AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night 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 need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Scottsdale AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to 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 on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Scottsdale AZ.