How to Choose the Best CMA Training Program near Campbell California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Campbell CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Campbell CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Campbell 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 two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at California junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Campbell CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take 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 offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of 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 attended at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Campbell CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining 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 at home. After those decisions 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 potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Campbell CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Campbell CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the California colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Campbell CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Campbell medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Campbell CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Campbell CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, 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 Campbell CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Campbell CA.