How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Benson Arizona
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Benson AZ, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Benson AZ clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While Benson AZ medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Arizona law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Benson AZ employers would rather 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 route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Benson AZ employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in area Arizona medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Benson AZ is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Benson AZ or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating Arizona schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, 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 prospective Benson AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Benson AZ area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Benson AZ area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Arizona medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Benson AZ medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little 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 affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Benson AZ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program in the Benson AZ area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Benson AZ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Benson AZ
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Benson AZ.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask candidates is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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