How to Select a Medical Assistant School near El Dorado California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Dorado CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out 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 may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several 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 Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the El Dorado CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many El Dorado CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible 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 lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in El Dorado CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible El Dorado CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to El Dorado CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential El Dorado CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn 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 obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire 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 decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with El Dorado CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the El Dorado health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the El Dorado CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Dorado CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near El Dorado California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the El Dorado CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
El Dorado Hills, California
El Dorado Hills (EDH) is an unincorporated census-designated place (CDP) in El Dorado County, California, 22 miles (35 km) east of the state capital of Sacramento. The population was 42,108 at the 2010 census, up from 18,016 at the 2000 census. This growth is a combination of population increase within the 2000 CDP boundaries and expansion of the boundaries. The area of EDH was expanded from 17.9 square miles (46 km2) in 2000 to 48.606 square miles (125.89 km2) in 2010.
El Dorado Hills residents and businesses are most closely affiliated with El Dorado County, a generally rural area. El Dorado County is part of the Sacramento Metropolitan Area because it is socially and economically integrated with the much larger Sacramento County and especially the city of Folsom. El Dorado Hills is recognized nationally for its high median household income, ranking 77th in CNN Money Magazine's best places to live in 2007, with the median household income for 2007 over $115,000.
El Dorado Hills lies about 18.6 miles from the 1848 gold find site in Coloma, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. Gold was washed down the South Fork of the American River, into areas now in El Dorado Hills and Folsom, but farming and ranching supplanted the Gold Rush. Portions of two Pony Express routes in this area from 1860-1861 remain as modern El Dorado Hills roads. El Dorado Hills includes the longest surviving section of the Lincoln Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental highway. This section, part of the Pioneer Branch, passes through historic Clarksville and is the predecessor of the modern US 50 route.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training El Dorado CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 6 Month Program For Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in El Dorado CA.
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