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Become a Medical Assistant Antioch CA 94509

How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Program near Antioch California

Antioch CA CMA with medical chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Antioch CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

Why Train to Become a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Antioch CA, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you select health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Antioch CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Antioch CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific 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

Antioch CA CMA opening door for patient on crutchesIn contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Antioch CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Antioch CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Antioch California woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Antioch CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Antioch CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Antioch CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select 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. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the California schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Antioch CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Antioch medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Antioch CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Antioch CA Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Antioch CA.