How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant Program near Clovis California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clovis CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Clovis CA, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What made you decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Clovis CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Clovis CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Clovis CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Clovis CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education 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.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Clovis CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Clovis CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Clovis CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Clovis medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Clovis CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clovis CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Clovis CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.