How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Bakersfield California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bakersfield CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Bakersfield CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners 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:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Bakersfield CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Bakersfield CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed 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 idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Bakersfield CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Bakersfield CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Bakersfield CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools 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. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Bakersfield CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Bakersfield health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bakersfield CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? 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 likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bakersfield California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bakersfield CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bakersfield is a city and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 380,000, making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of over 500,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Bakersfield CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice 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 these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Responsibilities. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bakersfield CA.
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