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Become a Medical Assistant Antelope CA 95621

How to Choose an Accredited CMA Training Program near Antelope California

Antelope CA medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Antelope CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Antelope CA medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Antelope CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 Training Courses

Antelope CA medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesCompared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Antelope CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed 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 usually two year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as trade 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 courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

Antelope California student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Antelope CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Antelope CA medical employers simply 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Antelope CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Antelope CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, 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 evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Antelope CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Antelope medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Antelope CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's important that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Antelope CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Right Antelope CA Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Antelope CA.