How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Redwood Estates California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Redwood Estates CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by checking out 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. 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 talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Redwood Estates CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Training Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Redwood Estates CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied 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 also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Redwood Estates CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Redwood Estates CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded 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 graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Redwood Estates CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Redwood Estates CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods 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 Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Redwood Estates CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Redwood Estates healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Redwood Estates CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Redwood Estates CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Redwood Estates California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Redwood Estates CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Redwood Estates, California
Redwood Estates is a rural unincorporated community along State Route 17 in the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos, California, United States. The Census Bureau includes it in a census-designated place named Lexington Hills. It lies inside the confines of Santa Clara County. The area is about eight miles from downtown Los Gatos and nine miles from the Santa Cruz County community of Scotts Valley.
Nearby Summit Road is roughly the dividing line between the counties: Santa Cruz County areas being generally west of Summit Rd. The Butano Fault (also known as the Butano Rift Zone), roughly follows Summit Road through the area. The ZIP code for post office boxes in Redwood Estates is 95044, although the city and ZIP code for street delivery is Los Gatos, 95033. Street addresses are usually five digits. The U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Names Database, lists the NAD27 coordinates of the community as 37°09′23″N 121°59′08″W / 37.15639°N 121.98556°W / 37.15639; -121.98556. The community is inside area code 408 while communities further west (but outside Redwood Estates) are in the coastal area code 831.
The architecture of homes in the community varies widely. The roads are paved, but narrow and winding when compared to modern urban streets. While area housing prices have been buoyed by rising real estate prices in Silicon Valley, the area is quiet and informal. There are few lawns: most homes have redwood duff in the front yard. Poison oak is evident in the area. There are very few storm drains, curbs, or sidewalks. Roads are framed by vegetation and wind along the contours of the area's hills. As the name implies, the area is populated by the towering redwood trees ubiquitous to the occasionally fog-shrouded areas of the California coast. Redwood roots seem to serve as informal speed bumps on many of the narrow community roads.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Program Redwood Estates CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Redwood Estates CA.
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