How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Emeryville California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Emeryville CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Emeryville CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. 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 responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Emeryville 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 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Emeryville CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Emeryville CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably 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, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need 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 choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Emeryville CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 accepted organizations 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Emeryville CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing 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 concentrating 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Emeryville CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Emeryville medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Emeryville CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe 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 school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Emeryville CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Emeryville California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Emeryville CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Emeryville is a small city located in northwest Alameda County, California, in the United States. It lies in a corridor between the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, extending to the shore of San Francisco Bay. Its proximity to San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, the University of California, Berkeley, and Silicon Valley has been a catalyst for recent economic growth.
It is the home to Pixar Animation Studios, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Jamba Juice, The Center for Investigative Reporting and Clif Bar. In addition, several well known tech and software companies have made their home in Emeryville: LeapFrog, Sendmail, MobiTV, Novartis (formerly Chiron before April 2006), Wargaming America, and BigFix (now IBM). The population was 10,080 as of 2010, although it swells considerably on weekdays due to the city's position as a regional employment center.
Before the colonization of the area by Spain in 1776, this area was the site of extensive Ohlone Native American settlements. Mudflats rich with clams and rocky areas with oysters, plus fishing, hunting, and acorns from the local oak trees provided a rich and easily exploited food source for the residents, who disposed of their clam and oyster shells in a single place, over time creating a huge mound, the Emeryville Shellmound.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College Emeryville CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Duties And Responsibilities. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Emeryville CA.
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