How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Laveen Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Laveen AZ, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Laveen AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Laveen AZ medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized 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 Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Laveen AZ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Laveen AZ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in area Arizona health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Laveen AZ is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Laveen AZ or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. 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 location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating Arizona programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Laveen AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Laveen AZ area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out 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 instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Laveen AZ area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Arizona medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Laveen AZ healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Laveen AZ area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Laveen AZ area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Laveen AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course in Laveen AZ
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Laveen AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask candidates is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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