How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Apache Junction AZ, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (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 aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Apache Junction AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Education
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Apache Junction AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as 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 courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Apache Junction AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Apache Junction AZ medical employers simply will not hire 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Apache Junction AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either 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 normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Apache Junction AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’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. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Apache Junction AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Apache Junction healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Apache Junction AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to experience 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 school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Apache Junction Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Apache Junction AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Apache Junction, Arizona
Apache Junction is a city in Maricopa and Pinal counties in the state of Arizona. According to the 2017 U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city was 40,358, most of whom lived in Pinal County.
The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.
As of the census of 2010, there were 35,840 people, 15,574 households, and 9,372 families residing in the city. The population density was 929.3 people per square mile (358.9/km²). There were 22,771 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.5% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.9% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.4% of the population.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Apache Junction AZ
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing 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 choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Info. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Apache Junction AZ.
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