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Become a Medical Assistant Clovis CA 93611

How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Program near Clovis California

Clovis CA CMA with medical chartNow that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clovis CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want 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 must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should 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 training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Clovis CA medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Clovis CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions 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 fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs

Clovis CA CMA greeting patientUnlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Clovis CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Clovis CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Clovis California student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Clovis CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Clovis CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Clovis CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the California schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Clovis CA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Clovis healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Clovis CA area and ask 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 signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night 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 program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Clovis CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.