How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Folsom California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Folsom CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate 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 also. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Folsom CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties 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 rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Folsom CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Folsom CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Folsom CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Folsom CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Folsom CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Folsom CA area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Folsom healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Folsom CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent 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 can be an indicator 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 convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Folsom CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy 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 Folsom California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Folsom CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Folsom is named for Joseph Libbey Folsom who purchased Rancho Rio de los Americanos from the heirs of San Francisco merchant William Alexander Leidesdorff, and laid out the town called Granite City, mostly occupied by gold miners seeking their fortune in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Though few amassed a great deal of wealth, the city prospered due to Joseph Folsom's lobbying to get a railway to connect the town with Sacramento. Joseph died in 1855, and Granite City was later renamed Folsom in his honor. The railway was abandoned in the 1980s but opened up as the terminus of the Gold Line of Sacramento Regional Transit District's light rail service in 2005. A few former gold-rush era towns are located within the city limits of Folsom, including Prairie City, Salmon Falls, and Mormon Island (though these towns no longer exist).
The establishment of Folsom Prison came in 1880, when the Livermore family made an agreement with the state to donate land for the prison in exchange for prison labor. They planned to build a hydro-electric dam from the American River for a sawmill. Though the sawmill did not work out, the Livermores soon realized that the natural force of running water could provide enough power to transmit to Sacramento, and the Folsom Powerhouse, now a National Historic Landmark, was opened. At the time it was opened, it had the longest overhead run of electricity (22 miles) in the country. The powerhouse operated until 1952.
Folsom Dam was built in 1956, providing much-needed flood control and water rights for the Sacramento Valley. The creation of this dam also created one of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Folsom Lake. The dam is located on the southwest corner of the lake. The lake is an estimated 4.8 miles (7.7 km) from Granite Bay to the most southern point of Folsom Lake.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Folsom CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Folsom CA.
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