How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Port Costa California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Port Costa CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Port Costa 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 an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Programs
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Port Costa CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Port Costa CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best choice 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Port Costa CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Port Costa CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Port Costa CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Port Costa CA area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Port Costa medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Port Costa CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big 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 likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Port Costa CA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Port Costa California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Port Costa CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Port Costa, California
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2), all of it land. Port Costa is surrounded by rolling hills grazed by cattle and managed by East Bay Regional Park District. Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline stretches from Crockett through Port Costa and to Martinez. Big Bull Valley Creek runs along McEwen Road into a historic reservoir just above the town, then it runs in an underground pipe culvert beneath the town to the Carquinez Strait.
Port Costa was founded in 1879 as a landing for the railroad ferry Solano, owned and operated by the Central Pacific Railroad. This put Port Costa on the main route of the transcontinental railroad. The Solano, later joined by the Contra Costa, carried entire trains across the Carquinez Strait from Benicia to Port Costa, from whence they continued on to the Oakland Pier. For a time, it was also the United States' busiest wheat-shipping port and had a reputation as a colorful, sometimes violent community.
After California's wheat output dropped in the early 20th Century and especially, after the Southern Pacific (which took over the operations of the Central Pacific) constructed a railroad bridge at Martinez in 1930 to replace the ferry crossing, Port Costa lost population and importance. Bill Rich was an influential property owner and raconteur. Since the late 1960s, it has mainly been a small shopping venue for antique hunters and a gathering place for bikers and motorcyclists.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Port Costa CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch 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 information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as 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 Medical Assistant Schools With Financial Aid. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Port Costa CA.
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