How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant Training School near Bakersfield California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bakersfield CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Bakersfield 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 a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bakersfield CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Bakersfield CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Bakersfield CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine 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 decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bakersfield CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, 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 College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Bakersfield CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Bakersfield CA area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Bakersfield health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Bakersfield CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have 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 college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Bakersfield CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bakersfield CA.