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How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Ceres California

Ceres CA CMA holding medical chartOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ceres CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about 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 task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of Medical Assistants

Ceres CA medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Ceres CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run 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 responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners 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:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Ceres CA medical assistant welcoming patient on crutchesCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Ceres CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route 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 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational 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 frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Ceres CA student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Ceres CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Ceres CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ceres CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Ceres CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring 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 about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the California schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Ceres CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Ceres healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Ceres CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend 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 easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Right Ceres CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Ceres CA.