Home >> California >> Bakersfield >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant Bakersfield CA 93203

How to Pick the Right CMA Training School near Bakersfield California

Bakersfield CA CMA with patient chartOnce you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bakersfield CA, it's time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Bakersfield CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Bakersfield CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

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

Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Bakersfield CA medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesIn contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Bakersfield CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Bakersfield CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Bakersfield California woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for California students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Bakersfield CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Bakersfield CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Bakersfield CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest 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 decide to enroll in, make sure that the California schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Bakersfield CA area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Bakersfield healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Bakersfield CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Bakersfield CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch 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 info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bakersfield CA.