How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Westwood California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Westwood CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided some 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Westwood CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical 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
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Westwood CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Westwood CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Westwood CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Westwood CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. 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 choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Westwood CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Westwood CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Westwood health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Westwood CA area and ask 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westwood CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Westwood California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Westwood CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Westwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lassen County, California, United States. Westwood is located 20 miles (32 km) west-southwest of Susanville, at an elevation of 5,128 feet (1,563 m). The population was 1,647 at the 2010 census, down from 1,998 at the 2000 census. Westwood is the hometown of mythical logger Paul Bunyan.
Westwood was built by T. B. Walker to be the operations center for the Red River Lumber Company in 1913. The first post office opened the same year. The Red River Lumber Company is credited as being "the world's largest electrical sawmill of the times." Red River Lumber Company also operated one of the first electric railways in the state built in 1927. The mill was equipped with the most modern equipment for its time; and the surrounding territory was crisscrossed by forest railways bringing logs to the mill. The railway shop at Westwood was home to 2-8-0 #102 and 2-8-2 #104 when forest railway operations ceased in the early 1950s. The four woods engines scrapped in 1953 were 2-6-0 number 1, 2-6-2 number 2, 2-8-2 number 3, and 3-truck Shay locomotive number 4.
William Laughead, an advertising copywriter who had once worked in lumber camps, took the stories of an old lumberjack and reworked them into the modern character. He sold the stories of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox "Babe" to the Red River Lumber Company, which published "Introducing Mr. Paul Bunyan of Westwood, California" in 1916 as an advertising pamphlet. Among other things, Laughead gave the name "Babe" to the blue ox, originated the idea that Paul Bunyan and Babe were of enormous size, and created the first pictorial representation of Bunyan.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School Westwood CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Requirements. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Westwood CA.
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