How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Auburn California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Auburn CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Auburn CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance 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 submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Auburn CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade 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 classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Auburn CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Auburn CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Auburn CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Auburn CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Auburn CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Auburn healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Auburn CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college 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 broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Auburn California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Auburn CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Placer County, California. Its population was 13,330 during the 2010 census. Auburn is known for its California Gold Rush history, and is registered as a California Historical Landmark.
Auburn is part of Greater Sacramento and is home to the Auburn State Recreation Area. The park is the site of more sporting endurance events than any other place in the world, giving Auburn the undisputed and internationally acclaimed title of Endurance Capital of the World. Examples include the Western States Endurance Run; the Western States Trail Ride, also known as Tevis Cup Equestrian Ride; American River 50 Mile Endurance Run; American River 50 Mile Equestrian Ride; Way Too Cool 50 Kilometer Endurance Run; Auburn International Half-Ironman Triathlon; Auburn Century 100 Mile Bike Ride, Coolest 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race, Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run, Sierra Nevada 50 Mile Endurance Run, and the Coolest Run: Ride & Tie.
Archaeological finds place the southwestern border for the prehistoric Martis people in the Auburn area. The indigenous Nisenan, an offshoot of the Maidu, were the first to establish a permanent settlement in the Auburn area.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Auburn CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether 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 need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on 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 Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Auburn CA.
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