How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Prescott Valley AZ, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short 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 available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Prescott Valley AZ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties 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
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Prescott Valley AZ health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Prescott Valley AZ area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Prescott Valley AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Prescott Valley AZ with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, 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 enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Prescott Valley AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Prescott Valley AZ area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Prescott Valley medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Prescott Valley AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment 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 important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Prescott Valley Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Prescott Valley AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Prescott Valley is a town located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, about 8 miles east of Prescott, which it has surpassed in growth. Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000, with a current population (October 2016) of about 45,500 residents.
The Walker party discovered gold along Lynx Creek in 1863. The Lynx Creek placers went on to produce a recorded 29,000 troy ounces (900 kg) of gold. Estimates of actual production range up to 80,000 troy ounces (2,500 kg), which would be worth about $108 million at 2017 prices.
Prescott Valley, formerly known as Lonesome Valley, was settled by ranchers in the 1880s, raising beef to supply the miners and new settlers. The Fain family, pioneer ranchers, still ranch in the valley.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Prescott Valley AZ
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Is Medical Assistant School. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision 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 start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Prescott Valley AZ.
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