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Become a Medical Assistant Campbell CA 95008

How to Select an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Campbell California

Campbell CA CMA holding 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 choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by evaluating 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Campbell CA CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Campbell CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with 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 potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn 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

Campbell CA medical assistant greeting patientCompared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Campbell CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical 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 practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 Schools

Campbell CA student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Campbell CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Campbell CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Campbell CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Campbell CA employers will not hire 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 colleges develop 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 for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Campbell CA area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Campbell health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Campbell CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator 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 furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see 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 school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Campbell CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Campbell CA Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Campbell CA.