How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Dewey Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Dewey AZ, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might 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 before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Dewey AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities 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 rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While Dewey AZ medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific 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 healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Dewey AZ employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Dewey AZ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in regional Arizona medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Dewey AZ is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Dewey AZ or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when evaluating Arizona schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Dewey AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Dewey AZ area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Dewey AZ area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Arizona medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Dewey AZ healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Dewey AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal 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 monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college in the Dewey AZ area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Dewey AZ, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Dewey AZ
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Dewey AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask candidates is "What made you select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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