How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Tempe Arizona
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Tempe AZ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Tempe AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying 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
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Tempe AZ health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work 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 programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Tempe AZ area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Tempe AZ medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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, an applicant must have graduated 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.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices 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 schools that are nearest to Tempe AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Tempe AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths 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, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Tempe AZ area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Tempe medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Tempe AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction 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 possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Tempe Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Tempe AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Tempe (/ˈtɛmpiː/ TEM'-pee;Oidbaḍ in O'odham), also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2017 population of 185,038. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.
Fort McDowell was established approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of present downtown Tempe on the upper Salt River in 1865 allowing for new towns to be built farther down the Salt River. US military service members and Hispanic workers were hired to grow food and animal feed to supply the fort, and less than a year later, had set up small camps near the river that were the first permanent communities in the Valley after the fall of the Hohokam. (Phoenix was settled shortly afterward, by 1867–68.) The two settlements were 'Hayden's Ferry', named after a ferry service operated by Charles T. Hayden, and 'San Pablo', and were located west and east of Hayden Butte respectively. The ferry became the key river crossing in the area. The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company was soon established by William Kirkland and James McKinney to provide water for alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, and cotton.
Pioneer Darrell Duppa is credited with suggesting Tempe's name, adopted in 1879, after comparing the Salt River valley near a 300-foot (91 m)-tall butte, to the Vale of Tempe near Mount Olympus in Greece.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Tempe AZ
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Training. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Tempe AZ.
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