How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Redding California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Redding CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Redding CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Redding CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Redding CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Redding CA medical employers just will not hire 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). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Redding CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Redding CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Redding CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Redding medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Redding 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 medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to see 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 program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Redding CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Redding California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Redding CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Redding, officially the City of Redding, is the county seat of Shasta County, California, in the northern part of the state. It lies along the Sacramento River, 162 miles (261 kilometers) north of Sacramento, and 120 miles (190 km) south of California's northern border, shared with the state of Oregon. Interstate 5 bisects the entire city, from the south to north before it approaches Shasta Lake, which is located 15 miles (24 km) to the north. The 2010 population was 89,861. Redding is the largest city in the Shasta Cascade region, and it is the sixth-largest city in the Sacramento Valley, behind Sacramento, Elk Grove, Roseville, Vacaville and Chico.
During the gold rush, the area that is now composed of Redding was called Poverty Flats. In 1868 the first land agent for the Central Pacific Railroad, a former Sacramento politician named Benjamin Bernard Redding, bought property in Poverty Flats on behalf of the railroad so that it could build a northern terminus there. In the process of building the terminus, the railroad also built a town in the same area, which they named Redding in honor of Benjamin Redding. In 1874 there was a dispute over the name by local legislators and it was changed for a time to Reading, in order to honor Pierson B. Reading, who founded the community of Shasta, but the name was officially changed back to Redding by 1880. It has been called Redding ever since.
Although Europeans had been to California as early as 1542, when Juan Cabrillo sailed to what is now the San Diego Bay, the indigenous Indians were probably the only inhabitants of far Northern California region until Russian fur trappers came through the area in 1815.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Redding CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch 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 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 decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Job Description. But regardless 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, don’t forget 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 subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Redding CA.
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