How to Pick the Right CMA Degree Program near Claremont California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Claremont CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Claremont CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Claremont CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially 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 programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Claremont 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 may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Claremont CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Claremont CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Claremont CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the California schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Claremont CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Claremont health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Claremont CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Claremont 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 need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Claremont CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 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 Claremont CA.