How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Merced California
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Merced CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want 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 program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Merced CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may 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 practitioners 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:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available 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 healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Merced CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally 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 usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Merced CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Merced CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Merced CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Merced CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Merced CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Merced medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Merced CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Merced CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Merced California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Merced CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Merced /mɜːrˈsɛd/ (Spanish for "Mercy") is a city in, and the county seat of, Merced County, California, United States, in the San Joaquin Valley. As of 2014, the city had a population of 81,743. Incorporated on April 1, 1889, Merced is a charter city that operates under a council-manager government. It is named after the Merced River, which flows nearby.
Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and multiple beaches to the west. The community is served by the passenger rail service Amtrak, a minor, heavily subsidized airline through Merced Regional Airport, and three bus lines. It is approximately 110 miles (180 km) from Sacramento, 130 miles (210 km) from San Francisco, 45 miles (72 km) from Fresno, and 270 miles (430 km) from Los Angeles.
Since 2005, Merced has been home to University of California, Merced. Current recreational opportunities in the city include Applegate Park and zoo, Bear and Black Rascal Creeks and their bike trails, a skate park located in Applegate, Playhouse Merced, a live-stage theater downtown, two first-run movie theaters, The Mainzer Theater which is known for its historic and architectural value, the County Courthouse Museum circa 1889, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and the County Library. Though still growing, Merced has several shopping areas including the Merced Mall, anchored by Target, Sears, JCPenney and Kohl's, a strip mall located on the city's northwest side which includes Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and several restaurants. Merced's Main Street contains several restaurants, a movie theater, and other assorted shops.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Merced CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, 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 To Medical School. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to 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 Merced CA.
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