How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Menlo Park California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Menlo Park CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included several 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Menlo Park CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Education
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Menlo Park CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Menlo Park CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Menlo Park CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Menlo Park 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 factors that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in 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 enroll in 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible 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 mentioned previously, many potential Menlo Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Menlo Park CA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Menlo Park medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Menlo Park CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Menlo Park CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Menlo Park California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Menlo Park CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Menlo Park, California
Menlo Park is a city at the eastern edge of San Mateo County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the United States. It is bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north and east; East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Stanford to the south; Atherton, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City to the west. Menlo Park is one of the most educated cities in the state of California and the United States; nearly 70% of residents over the age of 25 has earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Menlo Park had 32,026 inhabitants according to the 2010 United States Census, which had grown to an estimated 33,888 inhabitants by 2016. Menlo Park is the site of Facebook's main campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which 9.8 square miles (25 km2) is land and 7.6 square miles (20 km2) is water. The total area is 43.79% water. Menlo Park is long and narrow on a northeast to southwest axis. The northeast portion borders the San Francisco Bay and includes the Dumbarton Bridge that connects Menlo Park to Fremont on the east side of the bay. The city shoreline includes the city's largest park, Bedwell Bayfront Park 160 acres (65 ha) and the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.San Francisquito Creek marks much of the southeast border of the city. West Menlo Park (not part of the city despite its name) along Alameda de las Pulgas nearly separates the southwestern part of the city (known as Sharon Heights) from the rest. The extreme southwest is clipped by Interstate 280.
The Bayshore Freeway (part of U.S. Route 101) traverses Menlo Park northwest to southeast near the shoreline and somewhat parallel to it to the southwest is El Camino Real. The intersection of El Camino Real and Santa Cruz Avenue is considered the heart of the city. Nearby, the Menlo Park Civic center is bounded by Ravenswood Avenue, Alma Street, Laurel Street and Burgess Drive. It contains the council offices, library, police station and Burgess Park which has various recreational facilities. Other major roads include Sand Hill Road in the Sharon Heights area.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Menlo Park CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Overview. 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Menlo Park CA.
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