Home >> California >> Chino >> Medical Assistant Programs


Become a Medical Assistant Chino CA 91708

How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant School near Chino California

Chino CA CMA holding patient chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chino CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences 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 research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short 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 available.

Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Chino CA, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Chino CA CMA taking 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 Chino CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Programs

Chino CA medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesCompared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Chino CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Chino 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 arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Chino CA student attending medical assistant online programThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might 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 degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Chino CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Chino CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Chino CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to 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 example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the California schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Chino CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Chino health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Chino 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? 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 fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chino CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Chino CA Medical Assistant Program

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether 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 acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Chino CA.