How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Ceres California
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ceres CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate 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 issues also. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start 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 Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Ceres CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments 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 prefer 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Ceres CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Ceres CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Ceres CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Ceres CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Ceres CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course 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 assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Ceres CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Ceres healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Ceres CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher 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 employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive 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 sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ceres CA, confirm that those times are available. 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 may 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.
Enroll in the Best Ceres CA Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type 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 choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Ceres CA.