How to Pick a Medical Assistant Course in Holbrook Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Holbrook AZ, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 factors as well. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Holbrook AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Holbrook AZ medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Courses and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Holbrook AZ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, 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 usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Holbrook AZ employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including 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 offered online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in local Arizona health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Holbrook AZ is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Holbrook AZ or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when evaluating Arizona programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Holbrook AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Holbrook AZ area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn 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 naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Holbrook AZ area colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many Arizona medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Holbrook AZ healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools 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 graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers in the Holbrook AZ area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Holbrook AZ area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Holbrook AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School in Holbrook AZ
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Holbrook AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask prospects is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Some Cities in Arizona That May Be Of Interest