How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Pittsburg California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pittsburg CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Pittsburg CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Education
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Pittsburg CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those 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 satisfied, but they can often be performed in Pittsburg CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best option for you. With 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Pittsburg CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order 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. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Pittsburg CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Pittsburg CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously 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 acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Pittsburg CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Pittsburg healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may 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 researching offer job placement assistance in the Pittsburg CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies 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 attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and 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 important that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pittsburg CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pittsburg California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pittsburg CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pittsburg is an industrial suburb city in Contra Costa County, California. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 census. It is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and is part of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta area.
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then "Black Diamond", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. The name was selected to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the two cities' shared a common steel and mining industrial heritage. This rechristening came at a time when the name of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was more commonly spelled without the "h".
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Pittsburg CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information 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 covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Training. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Pittsburg CA.
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