Home >> Arizona >> Sun City >> How To Become A Medical Assistant


Become a Medical Assistant Sun City AZ 85345

How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant Program near Sun City Arizona

Sun City AZ CMA with patient chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sun City AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each 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 type of credentials and training that are available.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Sun City AZ CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Sun City AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

Sun City AZ CMA welcoming patientCompared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Sun City AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at Arizona junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational 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 often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Sun City Arizona student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Sun City AZ area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Sun City AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Sun City AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 approved 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 exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Sun City 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 schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Sun City AZ area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Sun City healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Sun City AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sun City AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Sun City AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sun City AZ.