How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Oakland California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Oakland CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Oakland CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Oakland CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Oakland CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Oakland CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Oakland CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, 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 Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Oakland 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 create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, 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 means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Oakland CA area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Oakland medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Oakland 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oakland CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Oakland California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Oakland CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 412,040 as of 2016[update], it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.
Oakland's territory covers what was once a mosaic of California coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub. Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco. Oakland's fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region. In the late 1860s, Oakland was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many San Francisco citizens moved to Oakland, enlarging the city's population, increasing its housing stock and improving its infrastructure. It continued to grow in the 20th century with its busy port, shipyards, and a thriving automobile manufacturing industry.
The earliest known inhabitants were the Huchiun Indians, who lived there for thousands of years. The Huchiun belonged to a linguistic grouping later called the Ohlone (a Miwok word meaning "western people"). In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Oakland CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Oakland CA.
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