How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Piedmont California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Piedmont CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Piedmont CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. 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 responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Piedmont CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Piedmont CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Piedmont CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Piedmont CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Piedmont CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to 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 need to enroll in 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. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Piedmont CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Piedmont healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Piedmont CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, 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 Piedmont California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Piedmont CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Piedmont is a small, mostly residential, semi-suburban city located in Alameda County, California, United States. Piedmont is completely surrounded by the city of Oakland. Its residential population was 10,667 at the 2010 census. The name comes after the region of Piedmont in Italy, and literally means foothill. Piedmont was incorporated in 1907, and was developed significantly in the 1920s and 1930s. The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) includes three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools.
Residents originally sought incorporation in 1907. Two elections were held among the citizens of Piedmont in 1907, both of which narrowly upheld the decision for Piedmont to become a separate city, rather than become a neighborhood within the city of Oakland.
According to the city's Web page, "In the Roaring Twenties, Piedmont was known as the 'City of Millionaires' because there were more millionaires per square mile than in any city in the United States." Many of these millionaires built mansions that still stand, notably on Sea View Avenue and Sotelo Avenue/Glen Alpine Road in 'Alta' Piedmont. Piedmont became a charter city under the laws of the state of California on December 18, 1922. On February 27, 1923, voters adopted the charter, which can only be changed by another vote of the people.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Piedmont CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 Course Outline. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Piedmont CA.
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