How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Havasu City AZ, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some prefer to specialize in a particular 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Lake Havasu City 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 essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Lake Havasu City AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Lake Havasu City AZ medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Lake Havasu City AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Lake Havasu City AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused 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 means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Lake Havasu City AZ area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Lake Havasu City medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the city was 52,527 people. It is served by Lake Havasu City Airport. Lake Havasu City is geographically isolated from the other cities in Mohave County and is the southernmost community of the Las Vegas–Henderson, NV–AZ combined statistical area.
The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called "Site Six". during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the Island".
After four years of planning, McCulloch Properties acquired another 13,000 acres of federal land in the surrounding area. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963, by a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. (The act is referenced in resolution #63-12-1.) The city was incorporated in 1978.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Lake Havasu City 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 goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Online. But regardless of the kind 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 best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lake Havasu City AZ.
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