How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Kentfield California
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kentfield CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option 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 aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Kentfield CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Kentfield 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 generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Kentfield CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Kentfield CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Kentfield CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Kentfield 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 colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing 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 focused on that certification. Second, 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 ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Kentfield CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Kentfield healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Kentfield CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kentfield CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Kentfield California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kentfield CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kentfield (formerly Ross Landing, Tamalpais, and Kent) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, California, United States, just north of San Francisco. Kentfield is located on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet (35 m). The population was 6,485 at the 2010 census. The ZIP codes are 94904 for street addresses, and 94914 for PO boxes, and are shared with the neighboring community of Greenbrae.
In 1857, James Ross (1812–1862) bought Rancho Punta de Quentin. Ross, a Scot who had arrived in San Francisco from Australia in 1848 and made his fortune in the wholesale liquor business, set up a trading post called "Ross Landing". Steamers would come up Corte Madera Creek to the landing there. Albert Emmett Kent bought the land from the Ross estate in 1871. Kent built an estate called Tamalpais, later applied to the settlement by the railroad. Albert Emmett Kent's son, William Kent, was a US Congressman, philanthropist and founder of Muir Woods.
The National Weather Service reports that Kentfield's warmest months is July, with an average high of 82.7 °F (28.2 °C) and an average low of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C). December is the coolest months with an average high of 54.8 °F (12.7 °C) and an average low of 41.3 °F (5.2 °C). The highest temperature on record was 112 °F (44 °C) on July 11, 1913. The lowest temperature recorded was 17 °F (−8 °C) on December 31, 1915. Annually, there are an average of 19.6 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 1.3 days with highs of 100 °F (38 °C) or more. Freezing temperatures (32 °F (0 °C) or below) occur an average of 3.8 days each year.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Kentfield CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning 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 appropriate info on available programs prior to 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant To Rn. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Kentfield CA.
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