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Become a Medical Assistant Surprise AZ 85342

How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Surprise Arizona

Surprise AZ CMA holding patient chartNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Surprise AZ, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students start by researching 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to research several 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 carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Surprise AZ medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Education

Surprise AZ medical assistant greeting patientUnlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Surprise AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges as well as technical 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 routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Surprise AZ woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Surprise AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Surprise AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Surprise AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Surprise AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges 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, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Arizona colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Surprise AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Surprise medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help 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 higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Surprise AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in healthcare 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 nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Surprise AZ.