Arizona Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
Arizona offers one of the highest rates of employment for medical assistants in the United States. With a nice mixture of urban, rural, and metropolis areas, Arizona offers many opportunities for the trained medical assistant. With many hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and clinics, like the renowned Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and Phoenix, medical assistant schools in Arizona are plentiful.
Researching medical assistant schools takes time and diligence. You’ll want to make sure you find a program that fits your location needs, education budget and learning objectives. Some medical assisting schools in Arizona offer online learning via the Blackboard system, as well as in-class instruction. Arizona medical assisting schools may offer programs at multiple locations throughout the state, as well. Likely, you’ll be able to find a medical assisting program close to you.
The type of medical assisting degree you earn varies based on the school you choose. Certificate, diploma, and Associate of Applied Science degrees in medical assisting are available. Certificate and diploma programs tend to be shorter-about nine to twelve months in length-than A.A.S. degrees. If you plan to further your education beyond medical assisting, an A.A.S. degree offers credit transfer opportunities.
Additionally, consider cost and learning objectives when interviewing schools, to be sure they meet your needs. Accreditation is also important. The MA program you choose must be accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Accreditation is important as it allows you to sit for the certified medical assistant exam (CMA) or registered medical assistant exam (RMA). These certifications are earned after successful program graduation, and help identify you as a competent medical assistant. Employers often seek medical assistants with either the CMA or RMA designation.
Arizona Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
While medical assistants working in the U.S are not required to hold a formal certification or credential to practice, holding one of the national certifications that are available is an excellent way for a medical assistant to gain a leg up on their competition when it comes to finding highly sought after work.
Right now, medical assistants in the U.S. can seek two national certifications which are highly regarded and widely recognized. They are: 1) The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
Individuals looking to gain the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT) will need to have fulfilled ONE the following requirements to be eligible for the certification:
- Path 1: Complete an accredited medical assistant educational program with the following attributes
- 720 hours of didactic instruction in-class or online and 160 hours of a clinical externship
- Accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency which the US Department of Education, the AMT Board of Directions, or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation has approved
- Path 2: Have experience as an instructor
- Have no less than five years of experience acting as a full-time medical assistant program instructor
- Path 3: Real-world experience working in the field
- Have 5-7 years of experience working in the field within the past 7 years
- Have experience carrying out both clinical and administrative duties
- Path 4: Training in the Armed Forces
- Have finished an official medical assistant training program composed of no less than 720 hours of didactic instruction in the classroom or online and 160 hours of a clinical externship
Individuals looking to gain the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) will need to have fulfilled the following requirements to be permitted to take the exam:
- Have graduated from a medical assisting program that’s accredited either by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- The program’s coursework must have included medical terminology, first aid, coding and insurance processing, pharmacology, human anatomy, physiology, and pathology, as well as medical law and ethics, among others.
- Have passed the CMA exam within one year of having completed a medical assistant program
- CMA credentials must be renewed every 60 months, and can be done so by passing an exam or by completing 60 continuing education credits
List of Arizona Medical Assisting Programs
1. Central Arizona College
Central Arizona College offers an Associate of Applied Science-Medical Assisting degree. This 66-credit course is accredited and graduates may sit for the CMA exam. Program fees for this course depend on credit transfer and residency status.
2. Phoenix College
Phoenix College is a public Maricopa County Community College which offers students two a Medical Assisting Certificate of Completion program and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Assisting program. The latter mentioned program is composed of 60 credits, whereas the certificate program is 32 credits. During the fall semester, both programs meet four days a week from 8:00am to 5:00pm. During the spring semester, both programs meet four days a week during the evening from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Courses are held at the Main Campus, the Center for Nursing Excellence, and the Center of Excellence for Healthcare Education – all in the city of Phoenix.
3. Brookline College
Brookline College is a private academic institution which offers students a medical assistant program at their campuses in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson. Students who enroll in the program will undergo courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and more. Courses can be taken on weekday mornings from 8:00am to 12:00pm or during evening hours from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. In total, the 27.5 credit, 646 contact hour program takes about nine months to complete – 32 weeks for daytime students and 39 weeks for evening students. All courses must be completed on campus.
The approximate tuition price is $15,225. Financial aid may be available. The program is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
4. Carrington College
Carrington College offers both a certificate in medical assisting as well as an Associate’s degree. Students may choose to take the one year certificate course, or continue on for an additional year to earn the A.A.S. degree. Medical assisting programs at Carrington College are broken into clinical, administrative and externship sections. This fully accredited program costs between $14,000 and $26,000, depending on the program chosen. Graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam.
5. Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute offers a nine-month certificate program in medical assisting. This 34 credit program is tightly focused on the exact skills and knowledge a medical assistant needs to gain an entry-level position. This program costs about $11,000 and graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam.
6. Arizona College of Allied Health
Arizona College of Allied Health offers both a diploma and Associate of Applied Science of Medical Assisting. Students may choose to complete one year to earn a diploma, or continue an additional year to complete an Associate’s degree. Program fees start at about $15,000 and graduates are eligible to sit for the RMA examination.
7. Northland Pioneer College
Northland Pioneer College is a public college which offers students a medical assisting program which is designed to equip its students with the necessary clinical and administrative skills required to be an invaluable employee at a medical office. Program graduates will be well prepared for medical tasks like medication administration, phlebotomy, electrocardiography, vital sign measurement, exam preparation, and more.
Apart from its in-class learning and applied learning courses, NPC’s medical assistant program includes a 160-hour externship where students have the opportunity to work inside a medical office or in a hospital setting.
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