Home >> Arizona >> Yuma >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant Yuma AZ 85350

How to Select the Right CMA Course near Yuma Arizona

Yuma AZ medical assistant holding medical chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Yuma AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Study to Become a CMA?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Yuma AZ, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.

The Role of Medical Assistants

Yuma AZ CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Yuma AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training Programs

Yuma AZ medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Yuma AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Yuma AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Yuma AZ student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Yuma AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Yuma AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Yuma AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma 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 elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Yuma AZ area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Yuma health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Yuma AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Yuma AZ, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Yuma AZ Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right 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 life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools 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, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially 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 made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Yuma AZ.