How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Fairfax California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fairfax CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes 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 as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Fairfax CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Fairfax CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Fairfax CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Fairfax CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Fairfax CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Fairfax CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Fairfax CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Fairfax health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Fairfax CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college 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 college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairfax CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Fairfax California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fairfax CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fairfax Financial is a financial holding company based in Toronto, Ontario, which is engaged in property, casualty, and life insurance and reinsurance, investment management, and insurance claims management. The company operates primarily through several subsidiaries, including Odyssey Re, Northbridge Financial, Crum & Forster and Zenith Insurance Company.
Fairfax was incorporated as Markel Service of Canada on March 13, 1951, and continued under the Canada Business Corporations Act in 1976. The name was subsequently changed to Markel Financial Holdings Ltd.
In 1984, Prem Watsa left GW Asset Management to found his own asset management firm, Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. together with his former boss from Confed, Tony Hamblin. Tony was the Chief Investment Officer at Confed. The five founding partners were: Tony Hamblin, Prem Watsa, Roger Lace, Brian Bradstreet and Frances Burke.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Fairfax CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Schools Near Me. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Fairfax CA.
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