How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Atwater California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Atwater CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each 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 Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Atwater CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Atwater CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate 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 practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Atwater CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Atwater CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Atwater CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Atwater CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Atwater CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Atwater medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Atwater CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atwater CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Atwater California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Atwater CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Atwater is a city on State Route 99 in Merced County, California, United States. Atwater is 8 miles (13 km) west-northwest of Merced, at an elevation of 151 feet (46 m). The population as of the 2010 census was 28,168.
The railroad reached Atwater in the 1870s, and a town grew up. The first post office opened in 1880. Atwater incorporated in 1922. The name honors Marshall D. Atwater, a wheat farmer whose land was used by the railroad for its station.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Atwater had a population of 28,168. The population density was 4,620.8 people per square mile (1,784.1/km²). The racial makeup of Atwater was 18,410 (65.4%) White, 14,808 (52.6%) Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1,225 (4.3%) African American, 364 (1.3%) Native American, 1,416 (5.0%) Asian, 76 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,300 (18.8%) from other races, and 1,377 (4.9%) from two or more races.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Atwater CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Pediatric Medical Assistant. 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Atwater CA.
More Medical Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 39