How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Concord California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Concord CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 important factors as well. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Concord CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working 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
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Concord CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Concord CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Concord CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Concord 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 issues that you must examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Concord CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing 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 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 means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Concord CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Concord medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Concord CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Concord CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Concord California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Concord CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Concord (/ˈkɒŋkərd/ KON-kord) is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067 making it the 8th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months. The city is a major regional suburban East Bay center within the San Francisco Bay Area, and is 29 miles (47 kilometres) east of San Francisco.
Concord is located at 37°58′41″N 122°01′52″W / 37.97806°N 122.03111°W / 37.97806; -122.03111. It is 29 miles (47 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco, 22 miles (35 km) northeast from Oakland, 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Sacramento, and 51 miles (82 km) north of San Jose.
The focal point of downtown Concord is Todo Santos Plaza, which encompasses an entire city block and is known for its farmers market, free summer concerts, and large number of surrounding restaurants. Much of the area immediately around downtown has recently been redeveloped, with new high-density apartment and condominium projects to take advantage of the proximity to public transportation and to the area surrounding the park. Despite this, some crime and homelessness remain issues in the downtown area.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Concord CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health 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 prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But irrespective 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Concord CA.
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