How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Phoenix Arizona
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Phoenix AZ, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative 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 relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Phoenix AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can 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 professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Phoenix AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Phoenix AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, 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 employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Phoenix AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Phoenix AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Phoenix AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods 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 Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Phoenix AZ area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Phoenix health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Phoenix AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might 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 teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Phoenix Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Phoenix AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update]. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with many of the original crops, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay, remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Phoenix AZ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Program. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Phoenix AZ.
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