How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Rancho Mirage California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Rancho Mirage CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Rancho Mirage CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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 most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Rancho Mirage CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Rancho Mirage CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Rancho Mirage CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps 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 examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Rancho Mirage CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Rancho Mirage CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out 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 enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Rancho Mirage CA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Rancho Mirage medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Rancho Mirage CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Rancho Mirage CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Rancho Mirage California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Rancho Mirage CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal (part-time) population can exceed 20,000. Located between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). Rancho Mirage was incorporated in 1973 from a merger of Mirage Cove with five unincorporated areas known as the "Cove communities" (Desert, Magnesia, Palmas, Tamarisk, and Thunderbird), and had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.
Although the first modern settlements date back to the 1920s and 1930s, Rancho Mirage got its claim to fame after World War II. The Annenberg Estate or Sunnylands, owned by philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, had long been popular with the wealthy and powerful, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Patrick Macnee and Mary Martin. Several United States Presidents have vacationed at the Annenberg estate, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. President Ford later bought a house in Rancho Mirage and was living there at the time of his death in 2006. The Betty Ford Center, a world-renowned addiction rehabilitation center, is located in Rancho Mirage at the Eisenhower Medical Center. President Barack Obama has also used Sunnylands for summit meetings with world leaders during his administration.
Rancho Mirage has thirteen golf courses, also known as country clubs or golf resorts. The city's first resort was the Thunderbird Guest Ranch, opened in 1946 for entertainers and business clientele. Other golf resorts are The S at Rancho Mirage, Tamarisk, Mission Hills, Thunderbird, The Springs, Sunrise, Omni Resorts Rancho Las Palmas hotel (opened in 1979 to replace the Desert Air golf and private airport from 1954–1978), Morningside, Mission Hills North Course, Westin Hotels Mission Hills resort, and Tuscania by Sunrise Company opened in 2006.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Rancho Mirage CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Schools. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Rancho Mirage CA.
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