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Become a Medical Assistant Sierra Vista AZ 85613

How to Enroll In the Best CMA Training Program near Sierra Vista Arizona

Sierra Vista AZ CMA holding medical chartNow that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sierra Vista AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools 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 offered.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Sierra Vista AZ medical assistant taking blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Sierra Vista AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing 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. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training Programs

Sierra Vista AZ medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Sierra Vista AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

Sierra Vista Arizona woman attending medical assistant program onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Sierra Vista AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Sierra Vista AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Sierra Vista AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either 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 finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Sierra Vista AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Sierra Vista AZ area medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Sierra Vista medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that very first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Sierra Vista AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might 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 likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Best Sierra Vista AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sierra Vista AZ.