How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Lemoore California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lemoore CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Lemoore CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Lemoore CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine 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 two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Lemoore 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 ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Lemoore CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lemoore CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lemoore 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 schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn 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 of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Lemoore CA area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Lemoore medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Lemoore CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lemoore CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lemoore California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lemoore CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lemoore (formerly, La Tache and Lee Moore's) is a city in Kings County, California, United States. Lemoore is located 7.5 miles (12 km) west-southwest of Hanford, at an elevation of 230 feet (70 m). It is part of the Hanford-Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260). The population was 24,531 at the 2010 Census. The California Department of Finance estimated that Lemoore's population was 26,369 on January 1, 2017.
The maps published by Thos. H. Thompson in 1892, shows three high water levels of the giant Tulare Lake in different years. The highest lake level, the one Thompson labeled "original lake line" skirts or touches the 1892 town of Lemoore's south-west corner at the current intersection of State Route 41 and State Route 198. On Thompson's map, Lemoore is on the east bank, and about five miles away Lemoore Naval Air Station would have been on the west bank of the pointy northern tip of Tulare Lake at its maximum size. At the extreme northern point of Tulare Lake was its natural, occasional "flood year" spillway northbound into Bogg Slough, Fresno Slough, and the San Joaquin River's watershed, onward to the sea at San Francisco Bay. The present (2014) remaining marshy remnants of Bogg Slough, with its unfarmed oxbow structures may be the last of their kind to avoid the plow in the Kings-San Joaquin river system. This "summit," or spillway is located just a few miles north-west of Lemoore, off Grangeville Blvd at elevation 210 feet (64 m). The spillway was wide, shallow and confusing, choked with tall tule rushes, and without observable landmarks. Only one commercial boat is known to have sailed from Tulare Lake to the San Francisco delta. Tulare Lake had huge economic importance in the region, both for the very large population of Indians, and the white pioneers. The lake supported a large commercial fishery feeding San Francisco, and a steam powered ferry servicing several towns and settlements. The receding lake continually opened up new agricultural lands for settlement. Because of its source streams being diverted, the last time the lake overflowed was 1878, and today it no longer exists.
Because the natural summit or border between the Kings River basin and the San Joaquin River's watershed, and the Kings River itself nearly intersect near Lemoore, a number of huge water works that control regional water flow are also located nearby. For example, in flood years the Kings River is diverted west into the so-called "North Fork Kings River," to Crescent Weir and related major levees eastward to the north-flowing Fresno Slough and to the sea, preventing a resurgence ("flooding") of Tulare Lake to the south. This "switch point" is located just north of Lemoore right off of Highway 41 and Elgin Ave at the New Island Weirs. In many cases the prehistoric Kings River bed has been obliterated and new channels have been constructed. However, as of 2014, in satellite images (such as Google maps, etc.) the remains of many of the old channels can still be detected.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Lemoore CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Community College. But regardless 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lemoore CA.
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