The Best Medical Assistant Programs in Arizona
Job opportunities for medical assistants are growing. Learn how to join the ranks of healthcare professionals making a difference.
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Arizona census data shows that 24% of the population in Arizona is older than 60 years. Arizona's beautiful weather, landscape, and low cost of living make the state attractive for seniors willing to relocate during retirement.
In 2019, 16% of the U.S. population was 65 years and older. This age group has a higher risk of chronic disease and cognitive decline. Medical assistants play an important role in healthcare. As the number of elderly individuals rises, so will the need for healthcare professionals who can care for them in different settings.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow 18% by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This page explores what role medical assistants play, what to look for in a program, and how to apply for a medical assistant school in Arizona.
We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best medical assistant programs in Arizona, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.
Keep reading to learn more about the best medical assistant programs in Arizona, or go straight to our list of the best medical assistant programs in Arizona.
What Can You Do as a Medical Assistant?
In Arizona, medical assistants work under the supervision of physicians and physician assistants. The training includes both clinical and administrative tasks. However, many employers hire medical assistants to perform one or the other.
In many cases, medical assistants work in outpatient settings, such as clinics, urgent care settings, and physician offices. The duties of a medical assistant depend on the medical practice and specialty. Their clinical duties may include, but are not limited to:
- Taking vital signs and medical histories
- Preparing patients for an examination
- Assisting the provider during an examination
- Collecting laboratory specimens
- Instructing patients on medications, diet, and procedures
- Administering medications
- Wound care
- Removing sutures
- Performing EKGs
- Maintaining medical equipment
Medical assistants employed for administrative skills may be asked to:
- Monitor inventory of medical supplies
- Re-order supplies as needed
- Schedule patient appointments
- Arrange hospital admissions
- Update patient records
- Record medical history
- Process insurance forms
- Resolving billing problems
- Advocate for the patient with the insurance company
Medical assistants can specialize in several fields. This can improve their salary potential and gives them the opportunity to work in a specialty they enjoy. This can include ophthalmology, podiatry, obstetrics, orthopedics, and autopsy.
According to Payscale data from May 2022, the annual base salary for a medical assistant averages $35,770 in the United States. Location, certification, and specialization can all affect salary.
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What To Look For in a Medical Assistant Program
It is important to evaluate your medical assistant program choices to ensure your school meets your needs and increases your potential for employment. Consider the following factors:
Before submitting your application, be sure you meet all program requirements. These requirements are an indication of competition for admission.
Accredited programs must offer a specific curriculum but may include additional coursework to tailor the degree. Special offerings vary by program. However, students generally must earn a grade of "C" or higher in each class and may not repeat a class more than once.
Clinical timing and placements offered may influence your decision if they do not fit with your personal schedule or abilities. Check to ensure the school assists with clinical placement, as this can be challenging to complete on your own.
The program you graduate from must be accredited if you intend to be certified.
Accredited programs must offer a similar curriculum, but they have the flexibility to accelerate the program or to offer additional courses. Longer programs may offer more leadership training, which is helpful if you plan to continue your career in healthcare. The length of the program may also impact your finances. Longer programs tend to be more expensive, and you may not be able to work while in school.
The graduation rate tells you how likely you are to complete the program. Schools with a low rate may not have a supportive environment for their students.
Schools may keep initial employment records for their graduates. This metric offers you a glimpse into how successful students from this program are in finding work.
Applying to a Medical Assistant Program in Arizona
Arizona includes competency standards for medical assistants who practice in the state, which are currently under review. Most states do not have educational requirements for medical assistants, but employers prefer medical assistants with additional certification.
Most medical assistant schools in Arizona require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Arizona College offers students the ability to get post-secondary credentials while earning their high school diploma through the Ability-to-Benefit program. Some programs require prerequisite courses before admission.
Schools may include a GPA requirement for high school transcripts or prerequisite classes, including statistics, math, and English. A school may also require a placement test.
Why Is Medical Assistant Program Accreditation Important?
It is important for medical assistant schools in Arizona to hold proper accreditation. Associations that accredit medical assistant schools are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Reasons to attend an accredited program include:
- Accreditation ensures a quality standard of education.
- Most employers prefer to hire graduates with an accredited degree.
- Accreditation is required to obtain certification.
- Federal aid may not be available for non-accredited programs.
- Accreditation ensures the program meets national requirements for professional education.
- Graduates from accredited programs may have access to higher job prospects.
- Credits from a non-accredited program may not transfer to another medical assistant school in Arizona.
- Credits from a non-accredited program may not be used when advancing your education.
Learn more about the accreditation process and how it helps support your career development.
Paying for Medical Assistant Programs in Arizona
Medical assistant programs take 9-12 months to complete, and associate programs can take two years. Depending on the program, students may have enough flexibility to work during school to help offset the cost. Tuition ranges from $2,500-$26,000.
The school's financial aid office helps students seek financial aid to help meet their needs. These options include grants, scholarships, student loans, and military benefits. The school may have scholarship programs, and students may seek out scholarship funds through local and national organizations.
Federal grants and student loans may be available when students attend an accredited program. Resources are also available for students who belong to specific populations or organizations. Find more information and resources about financial aid here.
Learn More About the Best Medical Assistant Programs and Schools in Arizona
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assistant Programs
How long does it take to become a medical assistant in Arizona?
Students can finish a medical assistant program in Arizona between one semester and two years. Accredited programs ensure the education meets national standards and allows the student to take and pass a certification examination.
Do medical assistants have to be certified in Arizona?
Arizona does not currently require medical assistants to be certified to work in the state. However, the competency standards are under review. Certification may be required when the new standards are published.
How much does it cost to become a medical assistant in Arizona?
The cost for a medical assistant program ranges from $2,500-$26,000, depending on the college and the length of the program. Programs that include an associate degree cost more than those that offer a medical assistant diploma.
How much do certified medical assistants make in Arizona?
According to Salary.com, the median annual income for a medical assistant in Arizona is $37,390. This data is based on reports from human resource departments and may range from $31,810-$43,090. You can negotiate higher than the median recorded salary with additional certifications and specializations.
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