How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Clearlake California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clearlake CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Clearlake CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing 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
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Clearlake 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 generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as 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 training. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend 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 extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Clearlake CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Clearlake CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide 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 procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Clearlake CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Clearlake CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Clearlake CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Clearlake medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Clearlake CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Clearlake CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out 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 Clearlake California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Clearlake CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Clearlake is a city in Lake County, California, United States. Clearlake is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-northwest of Lower Lake, at an elevation of 1417 feet (432 m). As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 15,250, up from 13,142 in 2000.It takes its name from Clear Lake.
The first inhabitants of Clearlake were the Pomo Indians who gave the name to many of the areas features including Mount Konocti. Beginning in 1821, enslavement and mistreatment by Spanish soldiers and missionaries, Mexican land barons, European settlers, and gold diggers, combined with a lack of natural immunity to European diseases, which resulted in a massive wave of deaths. The result of this was massive amounts of land freed up for the white settlers who arrived during the gold rush.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.6 square miles (27 km2), of which, 10.1 square miles (26 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it is water. The total area is 4.27% water.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Clearlake CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant To Medical School. But regardless 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 best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Clearlake CA.
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