How to Enroll In the Best CMA Training Program near Tempe Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Tempe AZ, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes 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 important issues as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Tempe AZ, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety 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 leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Tempe AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical 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 submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Tempe AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 usually two year programs available at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Tempe AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for Arizona students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Tempe AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Tempe AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, 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 process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Tempe AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Arizona schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Tempe AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Tempe medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? 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 researching offer job placement assistance in the Tempe AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's important that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tempe AZ Medical Assistant Program
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on 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 online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Tempe AZ.