How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Training School near Surprise Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Surprise AZ, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Surprise AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Surprise AZ area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Surprise AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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 thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Surprise AZ with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should 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 make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Surprise AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Surprise AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Surprise health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Surprise AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during 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 few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Surprise AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Surprise AZ.