How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Millbrae California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Millbrae CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean 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 might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Millbrae CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Millbrae CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Millbrae CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Millbrae CA medical employers just will not hire 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Millbrae CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Millbrae CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Millbrae CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Millbrae health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Millbrae CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention 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 instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Millbrae CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Millbrae California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Millbrae CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Millbrae is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, just west of San Francisco Bay, with San Bruno on the north and Burlingame on the south. The population was 21,536 at the 2010 census.
Darius Ogden Mills purchased land in the 1860s from the Sanchez family to build a country estate. The former Mills estate was bordered by what is now Skyline Boulevard, Bayshore Highway U.S. Route 101, Millbrae Avenue and Trousdale Drive. The estate became known as "Millbrae" from "Mills" and the Scottish word "brae," which means "rolling hills" or "hill slope." Children swam in three lakes situated on the estate and sold acacias to tourists before the Mills family began to sell the land for development. The estate's spectacular mansion burned down during a realistic "fire drill" in 1954.
Millbrae used a private patrol financed by fees from merchants and residents until 1941, when the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors created the Millbrae Police District. Records of the Internal Revenue Service document the licensing of several Millbrae bars for gambling; only after incorporation were gambling laws enforced in Millbrae and not until the 1950s was gambling defeated. In 1931, citizens organized a volunteer fire department, which remained entirely volunteer until 1938. The police and fire departments were housed together for several years at Hillcrest Boulevard and El Camino Real before the vital services moved to their permanent location in Millbrae's civic center, a few blocks west of El Camino.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Millbrae CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Millbrae CA.
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