How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Independence California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Independence CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students begin by evaluating 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Independence CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Independence CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade 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 courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Independence CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Independence CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Independence CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Independence CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’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 school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select 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 about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Independence CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Independence medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Independence CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, 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 jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to see 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 to work full-time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Independence CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Independence California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Independence CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Independence is a census-designated place in Inyo County, California. Independence is located 41 miles (66 km) south-southeast of Bishop, at an elevation of 3930 feet (1198 m). It is the county seat of Inyo County, California. The population of this census-designated place was 669 at the 2010 census, up from 574 at the 2000 census.
The Sierra Nevada mountains to the west lie within the John Muir Wilderness Area. Onion Valley, one of the principal entry routes to the John Muir Wilderness, is accessed via the Onion Valley road which heads directly west out of Independence. This trail takes hikers to Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks which protect the Sierra Nevada west of the divide between the Owens Valley on the east and the rivers which drain into the San Joaquin Valley to the west.
Independence is a popular resupply location for hikers trekking the 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail which extends from the Mexican border to Canada along the crest of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. The highest pass along the entire trail, 13,153 foot (4009 m) Forester Pass, is directly west of Independence.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School Independence CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm 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 Associate Degree. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Independence CA.
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