How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Training School near Bakersfield California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bakersfield CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
Why Train to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Bakersfield CA, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Bakersfield CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Bakersfield CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered 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 a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at California community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Bakersfield CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order 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 offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Bakersfield CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind 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 opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bakersfield CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Bakersfield CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program'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 school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the California schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Bakersfield CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Bakersfield medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Bakersfield CA area and find out 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Bakersfield CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bakersfield CA.