Medical Assistant Community College Palm Desert CA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Palm Desert California

Palm Desert CA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palm Desert CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

The Job of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Palm Desert CA nursing home patientThe duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Palm Desert CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few 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 specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs

Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Palm Desert CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade 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 training. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Palm Desert CAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Palm Desert CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Palm Desert CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 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 offered by the NHA.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Palm Desert CA medical assistant programsBefore you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Palm Desert CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Palm Desert CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’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 paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Palm Desert CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Palm Desert medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Palm Desert CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Palm Desert CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Palm Desert California?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palm Desert CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, in the Coachella Valley, approximately 14 miles (23 km) east of Palm Springs, 121 miles (194 km) northeast of San Diego and 122 miles (196 km) east of Los Angeles. The population was 48,445 at the 2010 census, up from 41,155 at the 2000 census. The city was one of the state's fastest growing in the 1980s and 1990s,[citation needed] beginning with 11,801 residents in 1980, doubling to 23,650 in 1990, 35,000 in 1995, and nearly double its 1990 population by 2000. A major center of growth in the Coachella Valley, Palm Desert is a popular retreat for "snowbirds" from colder climates (the Eastern and Northern United States, and Canada), who swell its population by an estimated 31,000 each winter. In the past couple of years Palm Desert has seen more residents become "full-timers", mainly from the coasts and urban centers of California, who have come for both affordable and high-valued home prices.

The area was first known as the Old MacDonald Ranch, but the name changed to Palm Village in the 1920s when date palms were planted. Local historians said the main residents of pre-1950 Palm Desert were Cahuilla Indian farmers of the now extinct San Cayetano tribe, but a few members of the Montoya family of Cahuilla/Spanish descent were prominent leaders in civic life.[citation needed]

The first residential development occurred in 1943 in connection with an Army maintenance camp in the area. That site was later developed into "El Paseo", an upscale shopping district not unlike Rodeo Drive. In 1948, the Palm Desert Corporation began to develop real estate, and in 1951 the area was given its present name.

Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Palm Desert CA

Palm Desert CA medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal 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 must acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Community College. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Palm Desert CA.

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