How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Camp Verde Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Camp Verde AZ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each 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 credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Camp Verde AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Camp Verde AZ medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Camp Verde AZ employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Camp Verde AZ employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have 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 working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in regional Arizona health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Camp Verde AZ is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Camp Verde AZ or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating Arizona schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Camp Verde AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Camp Verde AZ area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Camp Verde AZ area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Arizona medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Camp Verde AZ medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance 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 indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Camp Verde AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication 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 offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Camp Verde AZ area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Camp Verde AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School in Camp Verde AZ
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper 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 get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Camp Verde AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Cities in Arizona That May Be Of Interest