How to Select a Medical Assistant School near San Mateo California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Mateo CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the San Mateo CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many San Mateo CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in San Mateo CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible San Mateo CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to San Mateo CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective San Mateo CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in 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 just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with San Mateo CA area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the San Mateo health care 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 may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the San Mateo CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Mateo CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near San Mateo California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the San Mateo CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
San Mateo, California
San Mateo (/ˌsæn məˈteɪ.oʊ/ SAN mə-TAY-oh; Spanish for "Saint Matthew") is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California's Bay Area, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of San Francisco, and 31 miles (50 km) northwest of San Jose. San Mateo had an estimated 2017 population of 104,748.
Documented by Spanish colonists as part of the Rancho de las Pulgas (literally "Ranch of the Fleas") and the Rancho San Mateo, the earliest history is held in the archives of Mission Dolores. In 1789 the Spanish missionaries had named a Native American village along Laurel Creek as Los Laureles or the Laurels (Mission Dolores, 1789). At the time of Mexican Independence, there were 30 native Californians at San Mateo, most likely from the Salson tribelet.
Captain Fredrick W. Beechey in 1827 traveling with the hills on their right, known in that part as the Sierra del Sur, began to approach the road, which passing over a small eminence, opened out upon "a wide country of meadow land, with clusters of fine oak free from underwood… It strongly resembled a nobleman's park: herds of cattle and horses were grazing upon the rich pasture, and numerous fallow‑deer, startled at the approach of strangers, bounded off to seek protection among the hills… This spot is named San Matheo, and belongs to the mission of San Francisco." An 1835 sketch map of the Rancho refers to the creek as Arroyo de Los Laureles. In the 21st century, most of the laurels are gone, removed for development.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College San Mateo CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 6 Month Program For Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Mateo CA.
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