How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near San Lorenzo California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Lorenzo CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the San Lorenzo CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities 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 samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of San Lorenzo CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in San Lorenzo CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between 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 earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential San Lorenzo CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to San Lorenzo CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective San Lorenzo CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting 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 one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with San Lorenzo CA area healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the San Lorenzo medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the San Lorenzo CA area and find out 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near San Lorenzo CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near San Lorenzo California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the San Lorenzo CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
San Lorenzo, California
San Lorenzo, also known as San Lorenzo Village, is a census-designated place (CDP) located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area in Alameda County, California, United States. The population was 23,452 at the 2010 census. It is an unincorporated community, located at the banks of San Lorenzo Creek. It was originally named Squattersville in 1851, but later renamed to San Lorenzo.
In 1944, under contract to the U.S. Navy, The David D. Bohannon Company began construction of San Lorenzo Village, which was one of the nation's first planned communities, with parcels designated for schools, churches, parks, and several retail centers. Bohannon's pioneering pre-cutting techniques, referred to as the "California method," were used in later developments, such as the more famous Levittown, Pennsylvania.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2), of which, 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) is land and 0.24% is water. San Lorenzo Creek runs partly through the town. It is located between the incorporated cities of San Leandro to the north and Hayward to the south.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Program San Lorenzo CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Be A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Lorenzo CA.
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