How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Burlingame California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burlingame CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” 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 available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Burlingame CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Burlingame CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Burlingame CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform 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 graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Burlingame CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Burlingame CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Burlingame 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 design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate 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 elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Burlingame CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Burlingame health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Burlingame CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Burlingame CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask 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 Burlingame California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Burlingame CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame and is often referred to as the City of Trees due to its numerous eucalyptus groves. Burlingame is known for its high residential quality of life with a walkable downtown area and excellent public school system. In September 2018, the median home value in Burlingame was $2.3M. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Burlingame had a population of 28,806.
Burlingame is situated on land previously owned by San Francisco-based merchant William Davis Merry Howard. Howard planted many eucalyptus trees on his property and retired to live on the land. Howard died in 1856 and the land was sold to William C. Ralston, a prominent banker. In 1868, Ralston named the land after his friend, Anson Burlingame, the United States Ambassador to China. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, hundreds of lots in Burlingame were sold to people looking to establish new homes, and the town of Burlingame was incorporated in 1908. In 1910, the neighboring town of Easton was annexed and this area is now known as the Easton Addition neighborhood of Burlingame.
Burlingame is known as the City of Trees due to its over 18,000 public trees within the city. In 1908, the Burlingame board of trustees passed an ordinance "prohibiting cutting, injuring, or destroying trees". The city also has many parks and eucalyptus groves.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Burlingame CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting 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 pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Community College. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be 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 subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Burlingame CA.
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