How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Kenwood California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kenwood CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Kenwood CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect 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 many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Kenwood CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Kenwood CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Kenwood CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Kenwood CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 approved 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Kenwood CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Kenwood CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Kenwood health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Kenwood CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to see 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 to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Kenwood CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all 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 Kenwood California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kenwood CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kenwood, California is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States, located on Sonoma Highway (State Route 12) between the cities of Santa Rosa and Sonoma. It lies east of Sonoma Creek in the upper part of Sonoma Valley, a region sometimes called the Valley of the Moon. Bennett Mountain lies west of the town, and Sugarloaf Ridge to the northeast. The population was 1,028 at the 2010 census.
Like all of Sonoma County, Kenwood is considered part of the Wine Country. Viticulturally, it lies in the Sonoma Valley AVA. The Kenwood area is known for vineyards and wineries, restaurants, and a European-style resort. An area landmark is the Kunde Estate Winery on Sonoma Highway, which was first planted in 1879.
Kenwood Plaza Park, located two blocks south of State Route 12 at 200 Warm Springs Road and Shaw Park, which is located at 100 Shaw Ave also off State Route 12. Both are managed by the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Kenwood CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as 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 Qualifications. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Kenwood CA.
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