How To Become A Certified Medical Assistant Riverside CA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Riverside California

Riverside CA medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Riverside CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Riverside CA nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Riverside CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing 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
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Riverside CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Riverside CAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Riverside CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses 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 want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Riverside CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Riverside CA medical assistant programsBefore you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind 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 start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Riverside CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you select 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 approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Riverside 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 accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Riverside CA area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Riverside medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Riverside CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Riverside CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Riverside California?

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

Riverside, California

Riverside is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Inland Empire metropolitan area. Riverside is the county seat of the eponymous county and named for its location beside the Santa Ana River.[10] It is the most populous city in the Inland Empire and in Riverside County, and is located about 55 miles (89 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. It is also part of the Greater Los Angeles area. Riverside is the 59th most populous city in the United States and 12th most populous city in California. As of the 2010 Census, Riverside had a population of 303,871.

Riverside was founded in the early 1870s. It is the birthplace of the California citrus industry and home of the Mission Inn, the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United States.[11] It is also home to the Riverside National Cemetery.

The University of California, Riverside, is located in the northeastern part of the city. The university also hosts the Riverside Sports Complex. Other attractions in Riverside include the Fox Performing Arts Center, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, which houses exhibits and artifacts of local history, the California Museum of Photography, the California Citrus State Historic Park, and the Parent Washington Navel Orange Tree, the last of the two original navel orange trees in California.[12]

Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Riverside CA

Riverside CA medical assistant studentIt’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch 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 info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Certified Medical Assistant. 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Riverside CA.

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