How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Penngrove California
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Penngrove CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects 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 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 kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Penngrove CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Penngrove CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Penngrove CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Penngrove 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 perhaps 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, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start 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 choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Penngrove 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 issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Penngrove CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Penngrove CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Penngrove healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Penngrove CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Penngrove CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Penngrove California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Penngrove CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Penngrove is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States, situated between the cities of Petaluma and Cotati, at the foot of Sonoma Mountain. It is part of the North Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 2,522 at the 2010 census.
Penngrove's downtown consists of Main Street, a 0.3-mile (0.48 km) street linking Old Redwood Highway to Adobe Road. Penngrove School is located at the corner of Adobe Road, where Main Street becomes Petaluma Hill Road.
Due to the Sonoma Mountain's ancient volcanism, Penngrove is rich with obsidian and petrified wood. Its soil is unique, composed mainly of clay-like adobe, which has been used for centuries as building material. A prime example of adobe architecture is the Rancho Petaluma Adobe, a State Historic Park in nearby Petaluma.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Penngrove CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate 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 need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 9 Month Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Penngrove CA.
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