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Become a Medical Assistant Burlingame CA 94010

How to Find the Best CMA School near Burlingame California

Burlingame CA medical assistant with patient chartOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burlingame CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.

Why Train to Be a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Burlingame CA, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you decide on health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.

The Job of Medical Assistants

Burlingame CA CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Burlingame CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. 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 tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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 Training

Burlingame CA CMA welcoming patientUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Burlingame 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 generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 two 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 courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Burlingame CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Burlingame CA woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals 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 earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Burlingame CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Burlingame CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Burlingame CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the California schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Burlingame CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may 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 Service Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Burlingame CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Burlingame CA Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Burlingame CA.