How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Ferndale California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ferndale CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Ferndale CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Ferndale CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Ferndale CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Ferndale CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Ferndale CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Ferndale CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive 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 opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Ferndale CA area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Ferndale medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Ferndale CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ferndale CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ferndale California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ferndale CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Ferndale is a city in Humboldt County, California, United States. Its population was 1,371 at the 2010 census, down from 1,382 at the 2000 census. The city contains dozens of well-preserved Victorian storefronts and homes. Ferndale is the northern gateway to California's Lost Coast and the city, which is sited on the edge of a wide plain near the mouth of the Eel River, is also located near the extensive preserves of Coast Redwood forests.
Before American settlement, Ferndale was a glade of giant ferns reaching more than six feet, surrounded by alder, willow, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, coast redwood, swampy land and windswept prairies. The area was populated by the southern Wiyot people, centered along the Eel River where they caught lamprey eels, salmon and sturgeon in iris leaf fish nets, collected shellfish along the river and at its mouth, while cultivating only a California species of tobacco. The town was established in 1852 from settlement by Willard Allard, Seth Louis Shaw and his brother Stephen W. Shaw.
In August 1852, Allard and the Shaw brothers borrowed a canoe from the Wiyots in the Table Bluff area and rowed it across the Eel and up Francis Creek to arrive with their supplies to the approximate vicinity of Main and Shaw streets. In September 1852 they cleared a five-acre area of ferns and began building a cabin near the base of the Wildcat Road even though Allard was sick with the ague. By January 1853, twelve men were living in the Shaws' cabin including Seth Kinman, who provided the group with meat, and Joe Russ (1825-1886), whose later holdings included the Fern Cottage Historic District. About this time, Stephen Shaw painted the portrait of Wiyot elder Kiwelattah (or Ki-we-lah-tah) and kept a detailed journal of two years of trying to grow plants in cold coastal fog.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Ferndale CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 National Registered Certified Medical Assistant. 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Ferndale CA.
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