How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Prescott Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Prescott AZ, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out 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 important issues also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Prescott AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Prescott AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics 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 in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for students 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 choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Prescott AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Prescott AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Prescott AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure 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 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Prescott AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Prescott AZ area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Prescott healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Prescott AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Prescott Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Prescott AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Prescott (/ˈprɛskɪt/ PRES-kɪt; Yavapai: ʼWi:kwatha Ksikʼita) is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843. The city is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple. The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.
The towns of Prescott Valley, 7 miles (11 km) east; Chino Valley, 16 miles (26 km) north; Dewey-Humboldt, 13 miles (21 km) east, and Prescott, together comprise what is locally known as the "Quad-City" area. This also sometimes refers to central Yavapai County in general, which would include the towns of: Mayer, Paulden, Wilhoit, and Williamson Valley. Combined with these smaller communities the area had a population of 103,260 as of 2007[update]. Prescott is the center of the Prescott Metropolitan Area, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as all of Yavapai County.
Arizona Territorial Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin replaced Governor John A. Gurley, appointed by Abraham Lincoln, but died before taking office. Downtown streets in Prescott are named in honor of each of them. Goodwin selected a site 20 miles (32 km) south of the temporary capital on the east side of Granite Creek near a number of mining camps. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864. Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864, a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community. Prescott was officially incorporated in 1881.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Prescott AZ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Qualifications. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Prescott AZ.
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