How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Berkeley California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Berkeley CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Berkeley CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Courses
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Berkeley CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have 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 to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Berkeley CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Berkeley CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Berkeley CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Berkeley CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating 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 one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Berkeley CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Berkeley healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Berkeley CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just 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 essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all 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 emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Berkeley California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Berkeley CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Berkeley (/ˈbɜːrkli/ BURK-lee) is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.
Berkeley is home to the oldest campus in the University of California system, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is managed and operated by the University. It also has the Graduate Theological Union, one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world. Berkeley is one of the most socially liberal cities in the United States.
The site of today's City of Berkeley was the territory of the Chochenyo/Huchiun band of the Ohlone people when the first Europeans arrived. Evidence of their existence in the area include pits in rock formations, which they used to grind acorns, and a shellmound, now mostly leveled and covered up, along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Other artifacts were discovered in the 1950s in the downtown area during remodeling of a commercial building, near the upper course of the creek.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Berkeley CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Online. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Berkeley CA.
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