How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Mill Valley California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mill Valley CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is ensure that the Mill Valley CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Training
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Mill Valley CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire 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 expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Mill Valley CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online lessons 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 graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Mill Valley CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Mill Valley CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, 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 accepted 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Mill Valley CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine 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 concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just 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 previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Mill Valley CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Mill Valley medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Mill Valley CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies 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 get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just 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 college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mill Valley CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Mill Valley California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Mill Valley CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Mill Valley, California
Mill Valley is located on the western and northern shores of Richardson Bay, and the eastern slopes of Mount Tamalpais. Beyond the flat coastal area and marshlands, it occupies narrow wooded canyons, mostly of second-growth redwoods, on the southeastern slopes of Mount Tamalpais. The Mill Valley 94941 ZIP Code also includes the following adjacent unincorporated communities: Almonte, Alto, Homestead Valley, Tamalpais Valley, and Strawberry. The Muir Woods National Monument is also located just outside the city limits.
The first people known to inhabit Marin County, the Coast Miwok, arrived approximately 6,000 years ago. The territory of the Coast Miwok included all of Marin County, north to Bodega Bay and southern Sonoma County. More than 600 village sites have been identified, including 14 sites in the Mill Valley area. Nearby archaeological discoveries include the rock carvings and grinding sites on Ring Mountain. The pre-Missionization population of the Coast Miwok is estimated to be between 1,500 (Alfred L. Kroeber's estimate for the year 1770 A.D.) to 2,000 (Sherburne F. Cook's estimate for the same year). The pre-Missionization population of the Coast Miwok may have been as high as 5000. Cook speculated that by 1848 their population had decreased to 300, and down to 60 by 1880. As of 2011 there are over 1,000 registered members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria which includes both the Coast Miwok and the Southern Pomo, all of whom can date their ancestry back to the 14 survivors original tribal ancestors.
In Mill Valley, on Locust Avenue between Sycamore and Walnut Avenues, there is now a metal plaque set in the sidewalk in the area believed to be the birthplace of Chief Marin in 1871; the plaque was dedicated on 8 May 2009. The village site was first identified by Nels Nelson in 1907 and his excavation revealed tools, burials and food debris just beyond the driveway of 44 Locust Ave. At that time, the mound was 20 feet (6.1 m) high. Another famous Mill Valley site was in the Manzanita area underneath the Fireside Inn (previously known as the Manzanita Roadhouse, Manzanita Hotel, Emil Plasberg's Top Rail, and Top Rail Tavern, most of which were notorious Prohibition-era gin joints and brothels) located near the intersection of U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1. Built in 1916, the "blind pig" roadhouse was outside the dry limits of the city itself. Shell mounds have been discovered in areas by streams and along Richardson Bay, including in the Strawberry and Almonte neighborhoods.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Mill Valley CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select 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 Certification. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Mill Valley CA.
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