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Become a Medical Assistant Clovis CA 93611

How to Find an Accredited CMA Course near Clovis California

Clovis CA CMA with patient chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clovis CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Clovis CA CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Clovis CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training

Clovis CA CMA opening door for patientUnlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Clovis 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 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 normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges as well as 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 often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Clovis CA student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Clovis CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Clovis CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Clovis CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Clovis CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Clovis CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Clovis health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Clovis CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school 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 college while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clovis CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Clovis CA Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.