How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Petaluma California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Petaluma CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting 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 Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Petaluma CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based 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 physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Petaluma 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 essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Petaluma CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Petaluma CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify 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 also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Petaluma CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Petaluma CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, 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 college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get 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 more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Petaluma CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Petaluma healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Petaluma CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Petaluma CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Petaluma California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Petaluma CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Petaluma /pɛtəˈluːmə/ is a city in Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country, part of the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area, located 37 mi (60 km) north of San Francisco. Its population was 57,941 according to the 2010 Census.
The Rancho Petaluma Adobe, located in Petaluma, is a National Historic Landmark. Its construction started in 1836 by order of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, then Commandant of the San Francisco Presidio. It was the center of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) ranch stretching from Petaluma River to Sonoma Creek. The adobe is considered one of the best preserved buildings of its era in Northern California.
The Coast Miwok resided in southern Sonoma County, and Péta Lúuma was originally the name of a Miwok village east of the Petaluma River. A number of other Coast Miwok villages were also located in and around what is now Petaluma; Wotoki, immediately to the south of the village of Petaluma, on the opposite side of the river, Etem, Likatiut, and Tuchayalin, near downtown Petaluma, and Tulme and Susuli, just north of what are now the city limits of Petaluma.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Petaluma CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Study. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Petaluma CA.
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