Medical Assistant Training Programs near Livermore CA 94550

How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Livermore California

Livermore CA Medical Assistant completing internship trainingNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Livermore CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 factors also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to 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 Role of a Medical Assistant

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Livermore CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties 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 fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

While Livermore CA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs and Certification

In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Livermore CA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Livermore CA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

CMA working with children in Livermore CAThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in local California health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Livermore CA is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to examining your medical assistant program options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Livermore CA or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing California schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college 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 need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Livermore 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 Livermore CA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Livermore CA area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many California medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Livermore CA medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask 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 indicates that it has a wide network of contacts in the Livermore CA area to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Livermore CA area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Livermore CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training in Livermore CA

It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Livermore CA.

Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?

When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.

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