How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Castro Valley California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Castro Valley CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by evaluating 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 critical factors as well. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities 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 demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Castro Valley CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting 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 examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Castro Valley CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Castro Valley CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Castro Valley CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Castro Valley CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Castro Valley CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs 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 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. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Castro Valley CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Castro Valley health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Castro Valley CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Castro Valley CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Castro Valley California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Castro Valley CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Castro Valley, California
Castro Valley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Alameda County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, it is the fifth most populous unincorporated area in California[better source needed] and the twenty-third most populous in the United States. The population was 61,388 at the 2010 census.
With the arrival of Europeans, Castro Valley was part of the land granted to Mission San Jose in 1797. The area Castro Valley now occupies was part of the extensive colony of New Spain in what was the state of Alta California.
Castro Valley was part of the original 28,000 acre (110 km²) land grant given to Castro in 1840, called Rancho San Lorenzo. This land grant included Hayward, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley, including Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, and Palomares Canyons. Castro had a gambling habit and had to sell off portions of his land to pay gambling debts. The last of his holding was sold in a sheriff's sale in 1864 to Faxon Atherton for $400,000.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Castro Valley CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get 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 on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can You Do With A Medical Assistant Degree. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Castro Valley CA.
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