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Become a Medical Assistant Ceres CA 95307

How to Select an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Ceres California

Ceres CA CMA with patient chartNow that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ceres CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should 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 credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Ceres CA medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Ceres CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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

Ceres CA CMA greeting patient on crutchesCompared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Ceres CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at California junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Ceres CA woman attending medical assistant school onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for California students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Ceres CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Ceres CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Ceres CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Ceres CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Ceres CA area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Ceres health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Ceres CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ceres CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need 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 work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Ceres CA Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Ceres CA.