How to Enroll In the Best CMA Degree Program near Campbell California
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Campbell CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges 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 available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Campbell CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Education
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, 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 are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Campbell CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Campbell CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Campbell CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Campbell CA employers will not hire 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 create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate 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 elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the California colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Campbell CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Campbell healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Campbell CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Campbell CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Campbell CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Campbell CA.