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Become a Medical Assistant Arden Arcade CA 95608

How to Select an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Arden Arcade California

Arden Arcade CA medical assistant holding patient chartOnce you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Arden Arcade CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Arden Arcade CA medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Arden Arcade CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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

Arden Arcade CA medical assistant welcoming patient on crutchesUnlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Arden Arcade CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 normally 2 year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Arden Arcade CA student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Arden Arcade CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Arden Arcade CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want 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 process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Arden Arcade CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Arden Arcade CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the California colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Arden Arcade CA area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Arden Arcade health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Arden Arcade CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during 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 convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Arden Arcade CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Arden Arcade CA.