Home >> California >> Clovis >> Medical Assistant Schools Near Me


Become a Medical Assistant Clovis CA 93611

How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Clovis California

Clovis CA CMA holding patient chartOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clovis CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools 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 type of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Clovis CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Clovis CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training Courses

Clovis CA CMA opening door for patientCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, 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 basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at California junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Clovis CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Clovis California student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically 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 education might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Clovis CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently 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 school.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, 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 instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the California schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Clovis CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Clovis health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide 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 graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Clovis CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Clovis CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.