How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Antioch California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Antioch CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Antioch CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic 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 specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Antioch CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to 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 certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Antioch CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Antioch CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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 be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Antioch CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Antioch CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to 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 naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on 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 ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Antioch CA area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Antioch health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Antioch CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Antioch California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Antioch CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Antioch (formerly, East Antioch, Smith's Landing, and Marshs Landing) is the second largest city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. Located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area along the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, it is a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland. The city's population was 102,372 at the 2010 census and estimated to be 110,542 in 2015.
Antioch is one of the oldest towns in California. In 1848, John Marsh, owner of Rancho Los Meganos, one of the largest ranches in California, built a landing on the San Joaquin River in what is now Antioch. It became known as Marsh's Landing, and was the shipping point for the 17,000-acre rancho. It included a pier extending well out into the river, enabling vessels drawing 15 feet of water to tie up there at any season of the year. The landing also included a slaughterhouse, smokehouse for curing hams, rodeo grounds, and even a 1½-story dwelling, embellished with fretwork, that was brought around the Horn to serve as a home for the mayordomo (manager) and his wife.
In 1850, two brothers, William and Joseph Smith, founded a town slightly west of Marsh's Landing, and named it Smith's Landing. In 1851, the town's new minister persuaded the residents to change the name of the town to Antioch, for the biblical city of Antioch.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Antioch CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Antioch CA.
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