How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Oakhurst California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Oakhurst CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences 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 critical issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Oakhurst CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers 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 practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may 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
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Oakhurst CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals 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 offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Oakhurst CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed 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 a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Oakhurst CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Oakhurst CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Oakhurst CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Oakhurst CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Oakhurst medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Oakhurst CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of 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 program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oakhurst CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might 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 Oakhurst California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Oakhurst CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Oakhurst (formerly Fresno Flats) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Madera County, California, 14 miles (23 km) south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,829, down from 2,868 at the 2000 census. According to the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, the area population was 12,787 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Madera–Chowchilla metropolitan statistical area.
Oakhurst is located on the Fresno River 3 miles (4.8 km) south-southwest of Yosemite Forks, at an elevation of 2274 feet (693 m). Its coordinates are 37°19′41″N 119°38′58″W / 37.32806°N 119.64944°W / 37.32806; -119.64944. It is located at the junction of state highways 41 and 49, at the southern end of California's Gold Country. Nearby communities include Ahwahnee, Coarsegold and Bass Lake.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.006 square miles (15.56 km2), of which 5.999 square miles (15.54 km2) is land and 0.007 sq mi (0.018 km2) (0.12%) is water.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Oakhurst CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many 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 pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Ophthalmic Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Oakhurst CA.
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