How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Los Altos California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Los Altos CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Los Altos CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Los Altos CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Los Altos CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Los Altos CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Los Altos CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some 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 make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Los Altos CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Los Altos CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Los Altos medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Los Altos CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Los Altos CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Los Altos California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Los Altos CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Los Altos, California
Los Altos (/lɔːs ˈæltoʊs/ ( listen)) is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
Most of the city's growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent commuter town for Silicon Valley. Los Altos has several distinctive features. Commercial zones are strictly limited to the downtown area and small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
Homes and other real estate are costly in Los Altos. The median household income of Los Altos for 2006–2010 was $149,964. The average home listing price in 2014 was $1.96 million. In 2017, Forbes put Los Altos (94022 and 94024) as the 3rd and 48th most expensive ZIP codes in the United States with median home prices of $7,755,000 and $3,431,615, respectively. In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Los Altos was the fifth wealthiest city in the United States.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Los Altos CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Trade Schools Near Me. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Los Altos CA.
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