How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Big Pine California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Big Pine CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable 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 take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Big Pine CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can 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 health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Big Pine CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Big Pine CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Big Pine CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Big Pine CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 approved 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Big Pine 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 medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Big Pine CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Big Pine medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Big Pine CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Big Pine CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out 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 Big Pine California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Big Pine CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Big Pine, California
Big Pine (formerly, Bigpine) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States. Big Pine is located approximately 15 miles (24 km) south-southeast of Bishop, at an elevation of 3,989 feet (1,216 m). The population was 1,756 at the 2010 census, up from 1,350 at the 2000 census. The Big Pine Band of Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Indians of the Big Pine Reservation operates their tribal headquarters from here.
Big Pine is located in the Owens Valley of California between the Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains, just west of the Owens River upstream of its diversion into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It lies on U.S. Route 395, the main north-south artery through the Owens Valley, connecting the Inland Empire to Reno, Nevada. US 395 also connects Big Pine to Los Angeles via State Route 14 through Palmdale.
To the East, CA route 168 crosses the White Mountains over Westgard Pass to the basin and range province of Nevada, while Death Valley Road leads to Death Valley. The plaque beneath the young giant sequoia (pictured) at the road junction says it was planted in 1913 to commemorate the opening of Westgaard Pass to auto traffic. North from Westgaard Pass lies the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to the oldest trees in the world.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Course Big Pine CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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 important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Technician. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Big Pine CA.
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