How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Somerton Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Somerton AZ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to 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 credentials and training that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Somerton AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Somerton AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Somerton AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Somerton AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Somerton AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Somerton AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want 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. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Somerton AZ area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Somerton health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Somerton AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Somerton AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Somerton Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Somerton AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,266 people, 1,818 households, and 1,652 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,483.2 people per square mile (2,109.3/km²). There were 1,967 housing units at an average density of 1,484.4 per square mile (571.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.52% White, 0.37% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 51.11% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 95.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,818 households out of which 59.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.9% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 9.1% were non-families. 7.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.99 and the average family size was 4.21.
In the city, the population was spread out with 38.9% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Somerton AZ
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes Cost. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Somerton AZ.
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