How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near El Granada California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Granada CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting 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 Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the El Granada CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for 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. Some of the possible responsibilities 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 fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many El Granada CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals 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 option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in El Granada CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible El Granada CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly 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 be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind 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 evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to El Granada CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective El Granada CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with El Granada CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the El Granada healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the El Granada CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction 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 one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe 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 full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Granada CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near El Granada California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the El Granada CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
El Granada, California
El Granada is located at 37°30′14″N 122°28′24″W / 37.50389°N 122.47333°W / 37.50389; -122.47333 (37.503766, -122.473230), on the less densely populated Pacific coast side of San Mateo County, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco and 45 miles (72 km) north of Santa Cruz, California. Neighboring towns include Montara and Moss Beach to the north and Half Moon Bay to the south.
The 2010 United States Census reported that El Granada had a population of 5,467. The population density was 1,133.7 people per square mile (437.7/km²). The racial makeup of El Granada was 4,608 (84.3%) White, 45 (0.8%) African American, 38 (0.7%) Native American, 190 (3.5%) Asian, 5 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 336 (6.1%) from other races, and 245 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 813 persons (14.9%).
There were 2,098 households, out of which 660 (31.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,245 (59.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 163 (7.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 69 (3.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 132 (6.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 33 (1.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 420 households (20.0%) were made up of individuals and 124 (5.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60. There were 1,477 families (70.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.00.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School El Granada CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire 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 selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Ophthalmic Medical Assistant. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in El Granada CA.
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