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Become a Medical Assistant Clovis CA 93611

How to Select an Accredited CMA Training School near Clovis California

Clovis CA medical assistant holding medical chartOnce you have decided to become a part of 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 provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Clovis CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Clovis CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training Courses

Clovis CA CMA greeting patientIn contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Clovis CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest 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 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component involving 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.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Clovis California student attending medical assistant school onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for California students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Clovis CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Clovis CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Clovis CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Clovis 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 develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Clovis CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Clovis health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Clovis CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive 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 possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Clovis CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Clovis CA Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.