How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Seaside California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Seaside CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Seaside CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare 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 practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Seaside CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Seaside CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Seaside CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, 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 researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Seaside CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Seaside CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out 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 example, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Seaside CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Seaside health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Seaside CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction 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 face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing 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 college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Seaside CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Seaside California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Seaside CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Seaside (formerly East Monterey) is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, with a population of 33,025 as of the 2010 census. Seaside is located 2.25 miles (3.6 km) east-northeast of Monterey, at an elevation of 33 feet (10 m). Seaside is the home of California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and the Monterey College of Law, which are located on the site of the former military base Fort Ord. There you will find the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses, once also part of the Fort Ord military base, now open to the public, and host to PGA Tour events, including the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship. Seaside is also the gateway to the Fort Ord National Monument Park, created on April 20, 2012. It has a rich history, diverse habitat, bountiful recreation opportunities, and helps protect and manage 83 miles of trails and over 44 species of plants and animals.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24 km2), of which, 9.2 square miles (24 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.48%) is water. According to the maps of the United States Geological Survey, the elevation ranges from 0 to 165 meters (0 to 541 feet).
The climate is a cool Mediterranean type, strongly influenced by the prevailing winds from the west, which blow over the Pacific Coast's cool ocean currents from Alaska. At the nearest National Weather Service Climate Station, in the City of Monterey at 385 feet elevation: The coldest month is January, with an average daily high of 15.5 °C (59.9 °F); the warmest month is September, with an average daily high of 22 °C (72 °F); the average daily low is 6 °C (43 °F) in January and 11.5 °C (52.7 °F) in September; and the average rainfall is 50 centimeters (20 inches) per year, with 90.3% falling during November through April. The weather can be much hotter when the winds blow from the east: Since 1906, there have been 11 days with a high of 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) or higher; all 11 days occurred in June, September, or October.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School Seaside CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in CMA 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Seaside CA.
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