How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Fountain Hills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Fountain Hills AZ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to research some 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 complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Fountain Hills AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While Fountain Hills AZ medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Fountain Hills AZ employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in local Arizona health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Fountain Hills AZ is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Fountain Hills AZ or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating Arizona schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Fountain Hills AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Fountain Hills AZ area medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Fountain Hills AZ area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Arizona medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Fountain Hills AZ healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Fountain Hills AZ area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator 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 offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college in the Fountain Hills AZ area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Fountain Hills AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Fountain Hills AZ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Fountain Hills AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask prospects is "What drove you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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