How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near South San Francisco California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near South San Francisco CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the South San Francisco CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate 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 responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of South San Francisco CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four 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 accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in South San Francisco CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential South San Francisco CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to South San Francisco CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective South San Francisco CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with South San Francisco CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the South San Francisco healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the South San Francisco 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near South San Francisco CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near South San Francisco California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the South San Francisco CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
South San Francisco, California
Prior to European exploration, the northern San Francisco peninsula was inhabited by the Ramaytush, a linguistic sub-group of the Ohlone people. Their village of Urebure on San Bruno Creek was visited by the Gaspar de Portolà expedition in 1769; remains of long-term (5,000+ years) inhabitancy and seasonal encampments have been examined at the Siplichiquin and Buckeye shell-mounds on San Bruno Mountain. Charcoal-sampling indicates these sites may have been actively occupied early in the Spanish colonial period (late 1700s). The delta of Colma Creek was formerly an important habitat for the waterfowl known to be hunted by the Ramaytush in historic times, and archaelogic sites have been recorded near the creek. The City plan also recognizes the existing remains of a village (CA-SMA-299) along El Camino Real.
The area which is now South San Francisco was originally part of Rancho Buri Buri, a large Mexican land grant to the Sanchez family dating to 1827. In 1853 Charles Lux and a business partner, Alfred Edmondson, purchased 1,700 acres (7 km2) of Rancho Buri Buri. Lux bought out Edmonson’s interest in 1856 and founded the town of Baden, now a neighborhood of South San Francisco. In 1855 Lux bought another 1,464 acres (6 km2) of Rancho Buri Buri land and became a partner of fellow San Francisco butcher and entrepreneur Henry Miller, forming the firm of Miller & Lux.
The city of South San Francisco was originally conceived as an industrial suburb and was promoted by representatives of the Beef Trust, a group including some of the country's largest meat packing firms. A city plan was put forward in 1888 by Gustavus Franklin Swift, founder of the Swift & Company meat packing firm. The plan called for multiple individual meat-packing companies with a shared stockyard, as well as a residential area for employees. Swift proposed the name South San Francisco based on South Chicago and South Omaha, where the Swift company already had plants.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College South San Francisco CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate 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 lifetime career, you must acquire the right info 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 personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant School Requirements. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in South San Francisco CA.
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