How to Pick an Accredited CMA School near Yuma Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Yuma AZ, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start 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 Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Yuma AZ, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you select health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Yuma AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, 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 school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Yuma AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for Arizona students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Yuma AZ area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Yuma AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee 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 accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Yuma AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools 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 colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask 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 assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Arizona schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Yuma AZ area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Yuma health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Yuma AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Yuma AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Yuma AZ Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime 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 selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Yuma AZ.