How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Kings Beach California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kings Beach CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper 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 researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes 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 may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short 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 Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Kings Beach CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Programs
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Kings Beach CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical 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 classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Kings Beach CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Kings Beach CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Kings Beach CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Kings Beach CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at 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 focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Kings Beach CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Kings Beach health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Kings Beach 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 a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Kings Beach CA, confirm that those times are available. 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 will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Kings Beach California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kings Beach CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kings Beach, California
Kings Beach is a census-designated place (CDP) in Placer County, California, United States on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,796 at the 2010 census, down from 4,037 at the 2000 census.
California State Route 28 passes through Kings Beach along the Lake Tahoe shore. California State Route 267 meets Route 28 in Kings Beach and connects the town to Northstar, Truckee, and Interstate 80.
Kings Beach has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) that is characterized by warm (but not hot) dry summers, and snowy winters. Due to its high elevation Kings Beach winters tend to fall below freezing for many days during the winter.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course Kings Beach CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kings Beach CA.
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