How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Thatcher Arizona
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Thatcher AZ, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Thatcher AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming 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 exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arizona law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Thatcher 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 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Thatcher AZ area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Thatcher AZ medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Thatcher AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee 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 Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one 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 normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Thatcher AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Thatcher AZ area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Thatcher medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Thatcher AZ area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thatcher AZ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Thatcher Arizona?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Thatcher AZ area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,022 people, 1,281 households, and 927 families residing in the town. The population density was 919.4 people per square mile (355.4/km²). There were 1,427 housing units at an average density of 326.2 per square mile (126.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 84.73% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 1.84% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.87% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. 19.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,281 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.6% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 22.8% from 18 to 24, 18.9% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Thatcher AZ
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Thatcher AZ.
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