How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Pleasanton California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pleasanton CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Pleasanton CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. 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 physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties 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 tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Pleasanton CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Pleasanton CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Pleasanton CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided 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 available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Pleasanton CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college 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 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Pleasanton CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Pleasanton CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Pleasanton healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pleasanton CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college 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 school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Pleasanton CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pleasanton California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pleasanton CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Workday, Ellie Mae, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Blackhawk Network Holdings, and Veeva Systems. Other major employers include Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Oracle, Nordstrom and Macy's. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices and a courthouse are located in Pleasanton. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton, where the county fair is held during the last week of June and the first week of July. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is located on the west side of town.
Pleasanton was ranked number 4 in USA Today's list of "America's 50 best cities to live in" in 2014, number 63 in Money's list of "The Best Places to Live" in 2010, and was named one of "Americans' Top Hometown Spots" in the United States in 2009 by Forbes. Pleasanton was named the third wealthiest city in terms of earnings in the United States by NerdWallet in 2013.
Before the establishment of Pleasanton in the 1850s, an earlier settlement in the location was called Alisal. It was located on the lands of the Rancho Santa Rita near the site of an Indian ranchera, around the Francisco Solano Alviso Adobe, called El Alisal (The Sycamores), one of the earliest houses built in the valley in 1844. It is still standing and serves as the centerpiece of the Alviso Adobe Community Park. Alisal, nicknamed "The Most Desperate Town in the West", was one of the settlements located along La Vereda del Monte that was a haunt and refuge of bandits and desperados in the era following the beginning of the California Gold Rush. Main Street shootouts were not uncommon. Banditos such as Claudio Feliz and Joaquin Murrieta would ambush prospectors on their way back from the gold rush fields and then seek refuge in Alisal. In the 1860s Procopio, Narciso Bojorques and others took refuge there.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Pleasanton CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection 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 agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 3 Month Medical Assistant Program. 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Pleasanton CA.
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