How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Greenbrae California
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Greenbrae CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Greenbrae CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Greenbrae 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 basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Greenbrae CA area health care 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 right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified 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 employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Greenbrae CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from 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, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Greenbrae CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify 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. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Greenbrae CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask 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 evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate 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 decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Greenbrae CA area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Greenbrae medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Greenbrae CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Greenbrae CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy 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 Greenbrae California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Greenbrae CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Greenbrae is a small unincorporated community in Marin County, California. It is located 1.5 miles (2 km) south-southeast of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 33 feet (10 m), located adjacent to U.S. Route 101 at the opening of the Ross Valley. Part of Greenbrae is an unincorporated community of the county while the remaining area is inside the city limits of Larkspur. The ZIP code is 94904, and is shared with the neighboring Census-designated place (CDP) of Kentfield. The community is in area codes 415 and 628.
Predominantly composed of hillside and waterfront terrain, its homes and offices are known for their views of the San Francisco Bay, Corte Madera Creek, and Mount Tamalpais. "Brae" means a steep bank or hillside in dialects of Scotland and Northern Ireland; Greenbrae translates to "green hillside." The developer of Greenbrae, Niels Schultz, Jr., died in early 2008. Greenbrae's neighborhoods are bordered by downtown Larkspur to the south, Larkspur Landing to the east, the unincorporated area of Kentfield to the west, and the city of San Rafael to the north. Straddling Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, its most frequented points of interest include Marin General Hospital and Bon Air Shopping Center.
Greenbrae was home to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for over 30 years, until 2006. Pediatrician William Silverman, who influenced the development of the neonatal intensive care unit, died there in 2004. Writer Jack Finney died in Greenbrae shortly after completing his last novel, as did Les Crane. Radio host Michael Krasny is a long term resident. American poet FrancEyE died in Greenbrae on June 2, 2009. Additionally, the runner-up of the second season of the cooking competition show Masterchef Junior Samuel Stromberg also lives in Greenbrae.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Greenbrae CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 3 Month Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Greenbrae CA.
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