How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Atherton California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Atherton CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Atherton CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers 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 facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Atherton CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Atherton CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Atherton CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Atherton CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Atherton CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? 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 fastest 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 require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Atherton CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Atherton medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Atherton CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to experience 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 working full-time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atherton CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Atherton California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Atherton CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, United States. Its population was 7,159 as of 2013. In 1990, Atherton was ranked as having the highest per capita income among U.S. towns with a population between 2,500 and 9,999, and it is regularly ranked among the most expensive ZIP Codes in the country.
In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of the large estates who lived north of Menlo Park. The entire area was called Menlo Park. It had been part of the Rancho de las Pulgas that had covered most of the area, which is now southern San Mateo County. There were several attempts to incorporate Fair Oaks, one in 1874 and another in 1911.
In 1923, Menlo Park wished to incorporate its lands to include the Fair Oaks lands. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, it became clear to the Fair Oaks property owners that in order to maintain their community as a strictly residential area, they would have to incorporate separately. Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923. That same year, in 1923, the Menlo Polo Club was founded in Atherton.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Atherton CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But regardless 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Atherton CA.
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