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Become a Medical Assistant Burlingame CA 94010

How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Program near Burlingame California

Burlingame CA medical assistant holding patient chartOnce you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burlingame CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

Why Study to Become a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Burlingame CA, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Burlingame CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Burlingame CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs

Burlingame CA CMA greeting patientCompared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Burlingame 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 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Burlingame CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Burlingame California student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Burlingame CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Burlingame CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Burlingame CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Burlingame CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Burlingame medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Burlingame CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Burlingame CA Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide 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 obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Burlingame CA.