How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Lewiston California
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lewiston CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students start 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 critical factors as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Lewiston CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. 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 can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Lewiston CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who might not have the 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 to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Lewiston CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lewiston CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Lewiston CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Lewiston CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Lewiston CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Lewiston medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Lewiston CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lewiston CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lewiston California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lewiston CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lewiston has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
A post office called Lewiston has been in operation since 1854. The community was named after Benjamin Franklin Lewis, adopted son of town founder, Tom Palmer, who, with Lewis, ran a gold mining operation on the Trinity River in the early days of the Gold Rush. Lewiston's Online Pioneer Museum: www.oldlewistonschoolhouse.org
The 2010 United States Census reported that Lewiston had a population of 1,193. The population density was 59.6 people per square mile (23.0/km²). The racial makeup of Lewiston was 1,074 (90.0%) White, 8 (0.7%) African American, 37 (3.1%) Native American, 6 (0.5%) Asian, 5 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 21 (1.8%) from other races, and 42 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 78 persons (6.5%).
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Lewiston CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Registration. But regardless of the type 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lewiston CA.
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