How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Camp Pendleton California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Camp Pendleton CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences 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 issues as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Camp Pendleton CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular 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 Training Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Camp Pendleton CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Camp Pendleton CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Camp Pendleton CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance 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 alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Camp Pendleton CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Camp Pendleton CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, 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 methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose 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 one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Camp Pendleton CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Camp Pendleton health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Camp Pendleton CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Camp Pendleton CA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Camp Pendleton California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Camp Pendleton CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. It is located on the Southern California coast, in San Diego County, and bordered by Oceanside to the south, Cleveland National Forest and Orange County to the north, Riverside County to the northeast, and Fallbrook to the east.
The base was established in 1942 to train U.S. Marines for service in World War II. By October 1944, Camp Pendleton was declared a "permanent installation" and by 1946, it became the home of the 1st Marine Division. It was named after Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942), who had long advocated setting up a training base for the Marine Corps on the west coast. Today it is the home to myriad Operating Force units including the I Marine Expeditionary Force and various training commands.
In 1769, a Spanish expedition led by Captain Gaspar de Portolá explored northward from Loreto, Baja California Sur, seeking to reach Monterey Bay, something never before done overland by Europeans. On July 20 of that year, the expedition arrived in the area now known as Camp Pendleton, and as it was the holy day of St. Margaret, they christened the land in the name of Santa Margarita. The expedition went on to establish military outposts and Franciscan missions at San Diego and Monterey.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Camp Pendleton CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Trade Schools Near Me. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Camp Pendleton CA.
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