How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in Clifton Arizona
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Clifton AZ, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Clifton AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Clifton AZ medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Clifton AZ employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Clifton AZ employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in regional Arizona medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Clifton AZ is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Clifton AZ or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating Arizona programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain 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 intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Clifton AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Clifton AZ area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Clifton AZ area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Arizona medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Clifton AZ health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts in the Clifton AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college in the Clifton AZ area to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Clifton AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Clifton AZ
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Clifton AZ.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask candidates is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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