How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Arcata California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Arcata CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 issues as well. You might choose to look into a few 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 finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Arcata CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Arcata CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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 Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Arcata CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Arcata CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, 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 process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Arcata CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Arcata CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically 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 one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Arcata CA area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Arcata medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Arcata CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arcata CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Arcata California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Arcata CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Arcata, originally Union Town or Union, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay (northern) portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California, United States. At the 2010 census, Arcata's population was 17,231. Arcata, located 280 miles (450 km) north of San Francisco (via Highway 101), is home to Humboldt State University. Arcata is also the location of the Arcata Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands and mineral programs, including the Headwaters Forest, on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California.
Arcata has been notably progressive in its political makeup, and was the first city in the United States to elect a majority of its city council members from the Green Party. As a result of the progressive majority, Arcata capped the number of chain restaurants allowed in the city. Arcata was also the first municipality to ban the growth of any type of Genetically Modified Organism within city limits, with exceptions for research and educational purposes.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km2), of which 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (17.25%) is water.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant College Arcata CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree. But regardless of the kind 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Arcata CA.
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