How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Newark California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Newark CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several 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 function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Newark CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may 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 submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Newark CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Newark CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Newark CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Newark CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become 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 examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Newark CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the 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 programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Newark CA area health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Newark health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Newark CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator 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 convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to see 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 on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Newark CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Newark California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Newark CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Newark is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It was incorporated as a city in September 1955. Newark is an enclave, surrounded by the city of Fremont. The three cities of Newark, Fremont, and Union City make up the Tri-City Area. Its population was 44,205 in 2015 making it the third largest city in the US named Newark after Newark, Ohio and Newark, New Jersey.
The western edge of the city is near the southern end of the San Francisco Bay. State Route 84 runs through the city, and continues as the Dumbarton Bridge to cross the San Francisco Bay to reach Menlo Park. Interstate 880 serves as the eastern boundary with Fremont.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.9 square miles (36 km2), of which 13.9 square miles (36 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (0.17%) is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Newark CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning 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 info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Responsibilities. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Newark CA.
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