How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in San Bruno California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in San Bruno CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by checking out 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the San Bruno CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although San Bruno CA medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many San Bruno CA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options 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 generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential San Bruno CA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in local California healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in San Bruno CA is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near San Bruno CA or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating California programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential San Bruno CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited San Bruno CA area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the San Bruno CA area schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many California medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the San Bruno CA medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the San Bruno CA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention 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 possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college in the San Bruno CA area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in San Bruno CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in San Bruno CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges 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, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Bruno CA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask applicants is "What made you select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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