How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Degree Program near Claremont California
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Claremont CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 important factors also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Train to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Claremont CA, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Claremont CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance 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 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 examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Claremont 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 offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges as well as technical 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 training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Claremont CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Claremont CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Claremont CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Claremont CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the California schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Claremont CA area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Claremont health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Claremont CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Claremont CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Claremont CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged 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 online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Claremont CA.