How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Clovis California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clovis CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Clovis CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support 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 possible functions 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 rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Clovis CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Clovis CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Clovis CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Clovis CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. First, 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 need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Clovis CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare 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 lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Clovis CA area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Clovis healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Clovis CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 likely to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clovis CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Clovis California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Clovis CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Clovis is a city in Fresno County, California, United States. The 2016 population was estimated to be 106,583. Clovis is located 6.5 miles (10.5 km) northeast of downtown Fresno, at an elevation of 361 feet (110 m).
The city of Clovis began as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Organized on January 15, 1890, by Fresno businessmen Thomas E. Hughes, Fulton Berry, Gilbert R. Osmun, H.D. Colson, John D. Gray, and William M. Williams, in partnership with Michigan railroad speculator Marcus Pollasky, the SJVRR began construction in Fresno on July 4, 1891, and reached the farmlands of Clovis Cole and George Owen by October of that year. The railroad purchased right-of-way from both farmers, half from each – the east side from Cole and the west side from Owen – and ran tracks up the borderline between the two properties. The railroad agreed to establish a station on the west side of the tracks and to call it "Clovis". The Clovis station, after which the town was named, was positioned on the Owen side of the track.
Cole and Owen later sold land to Marcus Pollasky for development of a townsite. Fresno civil engineer Ingvart Tielman mapped the townsite on behalf of Pollasky on December 29, 1891. The original townsite featured streets named for the officers and principal investors of the railroad: (Benjamin) Woodworth, (Marcus) Pollasky, Fulton (Berry), (Thomas) Hughes, (Gerald) Osmun, and (O. D.) Baron. The townsite, named Clovis by Pollasky, was laid out on what was originally Owen's land.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College Clovis CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Programs. 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Clovis CA.
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