How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Santa Clara California
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Santa Clara CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided 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 function 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 varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is ensure that the Santa Clara CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Santa Clara CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as 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 frequently 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 Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Santa Clara CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Santa Clara CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Santa Clara CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Santa Clara CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Santa Clara CA area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Santa Clara medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Santa Clara CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Santa Clara CA, confirm 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 internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Santa Clara California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Santa Clara CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara (/ˌsæntəˈklærə/) is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city's population was 116,468 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth-most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of 21 California missions. The city was later incorporated in 1852. The mission, the city, and the county are all named for Saint Clare of Assisi.
Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is home to the headquarters of several high-tech companies such as Intel. It is also home to Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California, which was built around Mission Santa Clara de Asís.Levi's Stadium, the home of the National Football League's San Francisco 49ers, is located in the city. Santa Clara is bordered by San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
The first European to visit the valley was José Francisco Ortega in 1769. He found the area inhabited by Native Americans, whom the Spanish called the Costanos, "coast people", later known as the Ohlone. The Spanish began to colonize California with 21 missions and the Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded in 1777.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Santa Clara CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Duties And Responsibilities. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Santa Clara CA.
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