How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Salinas California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Salinas CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Salinas CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can 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 may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular 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 Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Salinas CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Salinas CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Salinas CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Salinas CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Salinas CA employers will not hire 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 prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Salinas CA area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Salinas medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Salinas 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 an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Salinas CA, make certain 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 may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Salinas California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Salinas CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Salinas /səˈliːnəs/ is the county seat and largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is an urban area located just outside the southern portion of the Greater Bay Area and 10 miles (16 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River. The population was 157,218 as of 2016[update]. The city is located at the mouth of the Salinas Valley roughly eight miles from the Pacific Ocean and has a climate more influenced by the ocean than the hot-summer interior. The majority of residents live in single-unit detached homes, built between 1950 and 2000, while one third of the housing stock has three or more units per structure. Salinas serves as the main business, governmental and industrial center of the region. The marine climate is ideal for the floral industry, grape vineyards, and vegetable growers. Salinas is known for its vibrant and large agriculture industry and being "The Salad Bowl of the World" as the hometown of writer and Nobel Prize in Literature laureate John Steinbeck, who based several of his novels there.
The land currently occupied by the city of Salinas is thought to have been settled by Native Americans known as the Esselen prior to 200 AD. Between 200 and 500 AD, they were displaced by the Rumsen group of Ohlone speaking people. The Rumsen-Ohlone remained as the inhabitants of the area for approximately another 1,200 years, and in the 1700s, were the group of native inhabitants contacted and recorded by the first Spanish explorers of the Salinas area.
Upon the arrival of the Spanish, large Spanish land grants were initially issued for the Catholic Missions and also as bonuses to soldiers. Later on after Mexican independence, smaller land grants continued to be issued for ranchos where mostly cattle were grazed. One of the many land grants was the Rancho Las Salinas land grant, part of which included the area of modern-day Salinas. As a result of the many new cattle ranches, a thriving trade eventually developed in cattle hide shipments, shipping primarily out of the Port of Monterey.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Course Salinas CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example 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 How Long Does It Take To Be A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Salinas CA.
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