How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Campbell California
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Campbell CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Campbell CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Campbell CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at California community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice 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 choice for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Campbell CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Campbell CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Campbell CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Campbell CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are considering provide the type 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 an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Campbell medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer 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 students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator 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 provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Campbell CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Campbell CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Campbell CA.