How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Lafayette California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lafayette CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Lafayette CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Lafayette 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 two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior 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 courses. They usually have a clinical element 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Lafayette CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Lafayette CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably 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, a candidate 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 CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lafayette CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. 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 mentioned previously, many potential Lafayette CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Lafayette CA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Lafayette healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Lafayette CA area and find out 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during 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 few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lafayette CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lafayette California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lafayette CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lafayette (formerly, La Fayette) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. As of 2011, the city's population was estimated to be 24,285. It was named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French military hero of the American Revolutionary War. Today Lafayette is known for its pastoral rolling hills, good schools, and wealthy inhabitants. In 2016, the median household income in Lafayette was over $140,000, more than twice the statewide average and about two and half times the national median.
Before the colonization of the region by Spain, Lafayette and its vicinity were inhabited by the Saclan tribe of the indigenous Bay Miwok. Ohlone also populated some of the areas along Lafayette Creek. The indigenous inhabitants' first contact with Europeans was in the late 18th century with the founding of Catholic missions in the region. These initial contacts developed into conflict, with years of armed struggle, including a battle on what is currently Lafayette soil in 1797 between the Saclan and the Spanish, and eventually resulting in the subjugation of the native population.
Most of what is currently Lafayette was given as a Mexican land grant, Rancho Acalanes to Candelario Valencia in 1834. The name Acalanes seems to have come from the name of a native village in the area, Ahala-n.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant School Lafayette CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long To Become A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lafayette CA.
More Medical Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 2100