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Become a Medical Assistant Castro Valley CA 94546

How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Castro Valley California

Castro Valley CA CMA with medical chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Castro Valley CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Study to Become a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Castro Valley CA, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What drove you to pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Castro Valley CA CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Castro Valley CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:

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

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Castro Valley CA CMA greeting patientIn contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Castro Valley CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few 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 two year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Castro Valley CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Castro Valley CA student attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Castro Valley CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Castro Valley CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you choose 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Castro Valley CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt 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. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the California schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Castro Valley CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Castro Valley medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Castro Valley 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 medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Castro Valley CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Castro Valley CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Castro Valley CA.