How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Half Moon Bay California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Half Moon Bay CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students start 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Half Moon Bay CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Half Moon Bay CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics 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 provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Half Moon Bay CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Half Moon Bay CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Half Moon Bay CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Half Moon Bay CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically 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, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Half Moon Bay CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Half Moon Bay medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Half Moon Bay CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Half Moon Bay CA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical 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 issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Half Moon Bay California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Half Moon Bay CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Half Moon Bay, California
Half Moon Bay is a coastal city in San Mateo County, California, United States. Its population was 11,324 as of the 2010 census. Immediately at the north of Half Moon Bay is the Pillar Point Harbor and the unincorporated community of Princeton-by-the-Sea. The urban area had a population of 20,713 at the same census.
Half Moon Bay began as a rural agriculture area, primarily used for grazing of cattle, horses, and oxen used by Mission San Francisco de Asis (established in June 1776). Following the secularization of the Mission, Tiburcio Vásquez received the Rancho Corral de Tierra Mexican land grant in 1839 and Candelario Miramontes was granted Rancho Miramontes (later known as Rancho San Benito) in 1841.
The community began to develop in the 1840s as the first real town in San Mateo County. Known originally as San Benito, the town was renamed Spanishtown and attracted a thriving fishing industry in addition to its continued importance to coastal agriculture. Spanishtown became a racially diverse community, settled by Canadians, Chinese, English, Germans, Irish, Mexicans, Italians, Scots, Portuguese, and Pacific Islanders. Regular stagecoach service was established with San Mateo; coaches also served the communities of Purissima, Lobitos, and San Gregorio. Levy Brothers opened a department store in downtown Half Moon Bay. Spanishtown was officially renamed Half Moon Bay in 1874.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Half Moon Bay CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering 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 organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Night School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Half Moon Bay CA.
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