How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Occidental California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Occidental CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Occidental CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Occidental 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 basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Occidental CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Occidental CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Occidental CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Occidental CA employers will not employ 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 prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get 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 elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Occidental CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Occidental medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Occidental CA area and ask 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 signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Occidental CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Occidental California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Occidental CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Founded in 1876, Occidental was a stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad connecting Cazadero to the Sausalito ferry. In return for donating right-of-way to the railroad, a local landowner named "Dutch Bill" Howards received a lifetime railway pass, and the station was named after him.
Average January temperatures range from 41.8 °F (5.4 °C) to 54.5 °F (12.5 °C) and average July temperatures range from 51.4 °F (10.8 °C) to 77.9 °F (25.5 °C). The record highest temperature was 103 °F (39.4 °C) on July 22, 2006, and the record lowest temperature was 28 °F (−2.2 °C) on March 11, 2006. There are an average of 12.8 afternoons with highs of 90 °F or 32.2 °C or higher and an average of 2.1 mornings with lows of 32 °F or 0 °C or lower.
Average annual rainfall is 55.19 inches (1,401.8 mm). The wettest “rain year” was from July 1997 to June 1998 with 102.89 inches (2,613.4 mm) and the driest from July 2000 to June 2001 with 29.84 inches (757.9 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 36.62 inches (930.1 mm) in January 1995. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 8.51 inches (216.2 mm) on January 5, 1966. Average annual snowfall is only 0.2 inches or 0.0051 metres. The maximum snowfall was 11.0 inches (0.28 m) in January 1974.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Occidental CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes Cost. But irrespective 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Occidental CA.
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