How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Citrus Heights California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Citrus Heights CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Citrus Heights CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Citrus Heights CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some 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 typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Citrus Heights CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Citrus Heights CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Citrus Heights CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Citrus Heights CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask 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. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths 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, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Citrus Heights CA area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Citrus Heights medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Citrus Heights CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Citrus Heights CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Citrus Heights California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Citrus Heights CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Citrus Heights, California
Citrus Heights is located at 38°42′N 121°17′W / 38.700°N 121.283°W / 38.700; -121.283 (38.6947, -121.2905). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.2 square miles (37 km2), all land. The city incorporated January 2, 1997 (January 1 according to the official city website), becoming the fifth city in Sacramento County.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Citrus Heights had a population of 83,301. The population density was 5,854.6 people per square mile (2,260.5/km²). The racial makeup of Citrus Heights was 66,856 (80.3%) White, 2,751 (3.3%) African American, 753 (0.9%) Native American, 2,714 (3.3%) Asian (1.2% Filipino, 0.4% Indian, 0.4% Chinese, 0.3% Japanese, 0.2% Vietnamese, 0.4% Other), 363 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 5,348 (6.4%) from other races, and 4,516 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13,734 persons (16.5%).
There were 32,686 households, out of which 10,452 (32.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 14,241 (43.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,689 (14.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,027 (6.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,653 (8.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 252 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 8,860 households (27.1%) were made up of individuals and 3,280 (10.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53. There were 20,957 families (64.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.08.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College Citrus Heights CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Where Can I Get My Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the kind 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Citrus Heights CA.
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