National Medical Assistant Sunnyvale CA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Sunnyvale California

Sunnyvale CA medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sunnyvale CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Sunnyvale CA nursing home patientThe function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Sunnyvale CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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

In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Sunnyvale CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover 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 certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element 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 similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Sunnyvale CAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for those who might 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 students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Sunnyvale CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Sunnyvale CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Sunnyvale CA medical assistant programsPrior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Sunnyvale CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Sunnyvale CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out 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. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Sunnyvale CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Sunnyvale health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Sunnyvale CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sunnyvale CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Sunnyvale California?

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

Sunnyvale, California

Sunnyvale is the seventh most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the major cities comprising Silicon Valley. It is bordered by portions of San Jose to the north, Moffett Federal Airfield to the northwest, Mountain View to the northwest, Los Altos to the southwest, Cupertino to the south, and Santa Clara to the east. It lies along the historic El Camino Real and Highway 101.

As part of California's high-tech area known as Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale is the headquarters location of many technology companies and is a major operating center for many more. It is also home to several aerospace/defense companies. Sunnyvale was also the home to Onizuka Air Force Station, often referred to as "the Blue Cube" due to the color and shape of its windowless main building. The facility, previously known as Sunnyvale Air Force Station, was named for the deceased Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka. It served as an artificial satellite control facility of the U.S. military until August 2010 and has since been decommissioned and demolished.

Sunnyvale is one of the few U.S. cities to have a single unified Department of Public Safety, where all personnel are trained as firefighters, police officers, and EMTs, so they can respond to an emergency in any of the three roles.

Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Sunnyvale CA

Sunnyvale CA medical assistant studentIt’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 National Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sunnyvale CA.

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