How to Pick a Medical Assistant Course in Duncan Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Duncan AZ, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate 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 issues as well. You might want to research 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 must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the schools 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 available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Duncan AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Duncan AZ medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Programs and Certification
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Duncan AZ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Duncan AZ employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps 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 graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in area Arizona health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Duncan AZ is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Duncan AZ or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating Arizona programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Duncan AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Duncan AZ area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Duncan AZ area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Arizona medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Duncan AZ health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Duncan AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Duncan AZ area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Duncan AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant School in Duncan AZ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online 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 best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Duncan AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask prospects is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Arizona That May Be Of Interest