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Become a Medical Assistant Campbell CA 95008

How to Select the Best CMA Training School near Campbell California

Campbell CA medical assistant with medical chartOnce you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Campbell CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start 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 Be a Medical Assistant?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Campbell CA, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to select health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.

The Function of Medical Assistants

Campbell CA medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Campbell CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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

Campbell CA medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Campbell CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option 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 general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Campbell CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Campbell CA woman attending medical assistant online programThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible 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 programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Campbell CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict 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 considerations that you need to examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Campbell CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools 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 need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the California schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Campbell CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Campbell health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Campbell CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent 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 may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Campbell CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily 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 responsibilities.

Choose the Best Campbell CA Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is 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 acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type 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 supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Campbell CA.