How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Hayward California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hayward CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all 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 Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Hayward CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Hayward 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 generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Hayward CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Hayward CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to 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 from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Hayward CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Hayward CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring 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 acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Hayward CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Hayward medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Hayward CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hayward CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hayward California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hayward CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hayward (/ˈheɪwərd/; formerly Haywards, Haywards Station, and Haywood) is a city located in Alameda County, California in the East Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a 2014 population of 149,392, Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area and the third largest in Alameda County. Hayward was ranked as the 37th most populous municipality in California. It is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census. It is located primarily between Castro Valley and Union City, and lies at the eastern terminus of the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. The city was devastated early in its history by the 1868 Hayward earthquake. From the early 20th century until the beginning of the 1980s, Hayward's economy was dominated by its now defunct food canning and salt production industries.
In the 19th century, the land that is now Hayward became part of Rancho San Lorenzo, a Spanish land grant to Guillermo Castro, in 1841. The site of his home was on the former El Camino Viejo, or Castro Street (now Mission Boulevard) between C and D Streets, but the structure was severely damaged in the 1868 Hayward earthquake, with the Hayward Fault running directly under its location. Most of the city's structures were destroyed in the earthquake, the last major earthquake on the fault. In 1930, that site was chosen for the construction of the City Hall, which served the city until 1969.
William Dutton Hayward arrived during the gold rush and "squatted" as he began to build a house next to the creek at the site of the old Polamares School. Guillermo Castro's Vaqueros came by one day and told Hayward to get off of Castro's property. William did leave, but went to Guillermo Castro directly and asked to buy a piece of his land. Castro sold him the area of what was east of Castro Street, now Mission Blvd and north side of A Street. William Hayward built a grand hotel on the property. He and his wife ran the hotel, which eventually burned to the ground around 1916.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Hayward CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Hayward CA.
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