How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Shafter California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Shafter CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Shafter CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Shafter CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Shafter CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical 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 an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Shafter 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 arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Shafter CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Shafter CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Shafter CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Shafter health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Shafter CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Shafter CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Shafter California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Shafter CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Shafter is a city in Kern County, California, United States. It is located 18 miles (29 km) west-northwest of Bakersfield. The population was 16,988 at the 2010 census, up from 12,736 at the 2000 census.
The city of Shafter began as a loading dock along the Santa Fe Railroad right-of-way. The community was named for General William Rufus Shafter who commanded US Forces in Cuba during the Spanish–American War. Property was sold beginning in 1914 and the city incorporated in 1938.
Also of historical note, Shafter is home to Minter Field, which began operations in June 1941 and saw heavy use during World War II. Approximately 7,000 troops were stationed at the airstrip which hosted up to 600 prisoners of war as well. Today it is publicly owned and administered by the Minter Field Airport District and serves as an industrial center and airport for crop dusters and private aircraft. The Minter Field Museum is maintained on location as well.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Shafter CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education Needed. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Shafter CA.
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