How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Course in Glendale Arizona
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Glendale AZ, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though Glendale AZ medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Glendale AZ employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Glendale AZ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in local Arizona health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Glendale AZ is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Glendale AZ or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when researching Arizona programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 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 mentioned previously, many prospective Glendale AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Glendale AZ area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused 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 ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Glendale AZ area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Arizona medical assistant schools offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Glendale AZ medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts in the Glendale AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Glendale AZ area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Glendale AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course in Glendale AZ
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical 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 on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Glendale AZ.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask candidates is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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