Top Medical Assistant Programs Taft CA

How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Taft California

Taft CA medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Taft CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most potential students begin 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Taft CA nursing home patientThe function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Taft CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training

Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Taft CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 Courses

woman attending medical assistant school online in Taft CAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the 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 to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Taft CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, 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 attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Taft CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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 thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Taft CA medical assistant programsBefore you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Taft CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few 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 several great reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Taft CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Taft CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Taft healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Taft CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Taft CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Taft California?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Taft CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Taft, California

Taft (formerly Moron, Moro, and Siding Number Two)[9] is a city in the foothills at the extreme southwestern edge of the San Joaquin Valley, in Kern County, California. Taft is located 32 miles (51 km) west-southwest of Bakersfield,[9] at an elevation of 955 feet (291 m).[7] The population was 9,327 at the 2010 census. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.1 square miles (39.1 km2).

The town began as Siding Number Two on the Sunset Railroad.[9] According to a display at the West Kern Oil Museum, local residents asked the Southern Pacific Railroad if the station could be named Moro when the rails arrived in about 1900, but a railroad official declined because the name would be too easily confused with the coastal town of Morro Bay. Instead, the railroad directed the station be called Moron, a word which as yet had no association with stupidity. Pictures of local businesses, including the Moron Pharmacy, hang in the museum.

Taft is situated in a major petroleum and natural gas production region in California, and is one of the few remaining towns in the United States which exist exclusively because of nearby oil reserves. The discovery of oil in the region occurred in the late 19th century near Maricopa, seven miles (11.27 km) south of Taft. Many other oil and gas accumulations were discovered around Taft during the early-to-mid-20th century, notably the Midway field (near Fellows, California), Sunset field (later found to be part of the same trend, accounting for the modern combined name of Midway-Sunset), and the Buena Vista. The town is built directly between these two huge fields. The operational activities within these fields, as well as Occidental Petroleum's Elk Hills Oil Field north of Taft, have been the economic life blood of the town for over 100 years.

Select the Right Medical Assistant Program Taft CA

Taft CA medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Top Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Taft CA.

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