Medical Assistant Training Programs near Piedmont CA 94620

How to Pick a Medical Assistant School in Piedmont California

Piedmont CA Medical Assistant completing internship trainingOnce you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Piedmont CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

The Job of Medical Assistants

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Piedmont CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Although Piedmont CA medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs and Certification

Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Piedmont CA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Piedmont CA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

CMA working with children in Piedmont CAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in local California health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Piedmont CA is furnished.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Piedmont CA or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating California programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Piedmont CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Piedmont CA area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate 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 decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Piedmont CA area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous California medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Piedmont CA health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Piedmont CA area to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Piedmont CA area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Piedmont CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College in Piedmont CA

It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether 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 before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays 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 select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Piedmont CA.

Why Did You Decide to Be a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.

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