How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Orinda California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Orinda CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative 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 qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Orinda CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Orinda CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical 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 element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Orinda CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Orinda CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Orinda CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Orinda CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths 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, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Orinda CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Orinda healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Orinda CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere 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 full time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Orinda CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Orinda California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Orinda CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Orinda is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 17,643 at the 2010 census, and was estimated in 2012 to have increased to 18,342. In 2012, Orinda was ranked the second most friendly town in America by Forbes. The city is located just east of the city of Berkeley and is home to many affluent suburban professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Its location provides for a more rustic landscape, and Orinda's many parks and trails make it a destination for many Bay Area hikers and naturalists.
Present-day Orinda is located within four Mexican land grants: Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados, Rancho Acalanes, Rancho El Sobrante and Rancho Boca de la Cañada del Pinole. The area was originally rural, mainly known for ranching and summer cabins. In the late 19th century, the land was named by Alice Marsh Cameron, probably in honor of the poet Katherine Philips, who was also known as the "Matchless Orinda".
In the 1880s, the United States Surveyor General for California, Theodore Wagner, built an estate which he named Orinda Park. The Orinda Park post office opened in 1888. The post office's name was changed to Orinda in 1895. Orinda was also the site of Bryant Station, a stop on the failed California and Nevada Railroad around the turn of the 20th century. In later times, the area around Bryant Station was known as Orinda Crossroads.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College Orinda CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing 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, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Orinda CA.
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