How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near San Leandro California
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Leandro CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the San Leandro CA clinics, hospitals 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 practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of San Leandro CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting 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 usually be carried out in San Leandro CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible San Leandro CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to San Leandro CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective San Leandro CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with San Leandro CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the San Leandro medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the San Leandro CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near San Leandro CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near San Leandro California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the San Leandro CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
San Leandro, California
San Leandro is a large suburban town in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, between Oakland to the northwest and Hayward to the southeast.
The Spanish settlers called these natives Costeños or "coast people" and the English-speaking settlers called them Costanoans. San Leandro was first visited by Europeans on March 20, 1772 by Spanish soldier Captain Pedro Fages and the Spanish Catholic priest Father Crespi.
The smaller, Rancho San Leandro, approximately 9,000 acres (3,600 ha), was given to José Joaquín Estudillo in 1842. The larger, Rancho San Antonio, approximately 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) was given to another Spanish soldier Don Luis Maria Peralta in 1820. Beginning in 1855, two of Estudillo's sons-in-law, John B. Ward and William Heath Davis, laid out the town site that would become San Leandro, bounded by the San Leandro Creek on the north, Watkins Street on the east, Castro Street on the south, & on the west by the longitude lying a block west of Alvarado Street. The city has a historic Portuguese population dating from when immigrants from the Azores and laborers from Hawaii began settling in the city in the 1880s and established farms and businesses. By the 1910 census, they had accounted for nearly two-thirds of San Leandro's population.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School San Leandro CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Leandro CA.
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