How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Durham California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Durham CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Durham CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect 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 Training
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Durham CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Durham CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Durham CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Durham CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Durham CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Durham CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Durham medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Durham CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may 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 likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Durham CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Durham California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Durham CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Durham Region municipal elections, 2018
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Durham CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as 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 Medical Assistant Degree Online. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided 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 picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Durham CA.
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