How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in El Mirage AZ, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin 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 critical factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the El Mirage AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based 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 responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While El Mirage AZ medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 and Certification
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many El Mirage AZ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential El Mirage AZ employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in local Arizona healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when researching Arizona schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential El Mirage AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited El Mirage AZ area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, 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 choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the El Mirage AZ area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Arizona medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the El Mirage AZ healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers in the El Mirage AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the El Mirage AZ area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in El Mirage AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program in El Mirage AZ
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in El Mirage AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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