How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Redwood Valley California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Redwood Valley CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Redwood Valley CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Redwood Valley CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Redwood Valley CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Redwood Valley CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Redwood Valley CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Redwood Valley CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools 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 looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although 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 finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Redwood Valley CA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Redwood Valley health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Redwood Valley CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Redwood Valley CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Redwood Valley California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Redwood Valley CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Redwood Valley, California
Redwood Valley (formerly Basil) is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located 6.5 miles (10 km) southwest of Potter Valley, at an elevation of 722 feet (220 m). It comprises the northern portion of the Ukiah Valley. It is about 8 mi (13 km) north of Ukiah and 12 mi (19 km) south of Willits. Potter Valley is to the east and Calpella to the south. The ZIP Code is 95470. The community is in area code 707. The population was 1,729 at the 2010 census.
One of the more dubious distinctions awarded Redwood Valley is it being the home of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple cult for a short time. The site was chosen because Jones believed that it was one of the few places in the world likely to survive a nuclear holocaust.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Redwood Valley had a population of 1,729. The population density was 629.1 people per square mile (242.9/km²). The racial makeup of Redwood Valley was 1,432 (82.8%) White, 7 (0.4%) African American, 63 (3.6%) Native American, 10 (0.6%) Asian, 1 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 155 (9.0%) from other races, and 61 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 305 persons (17.6%).
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Redwood Valley CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Redwood Valley CA.
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