How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near San Luis Obispo California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Luis Obispo CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function 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 San Luis Obispo CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run 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 giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. 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 instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many San Luis Obispo CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in San Luis Obispo CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain 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 idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential San Luis Obispo CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit 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 also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to San Luis Obispo CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective San Luis Obispo CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with San Luis Obispo CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the San Luis Obispo health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the San Luis Obispo CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe 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 college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Luis Obispo CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near San Luis Obispo California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the San Luis Obispo CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo (/sæn ˌluːɪs əˈbɪspoʊ/;Spanish for "St. Louis, Bishop [of Toulouse]", pronounced [san ˈlwis oˈβispo]; Obispeño: tiłhini, "Place of the full moon" ), or SLO (/sloʊ/) for short, is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast of Southern California. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census. The population of San Luis Obispo County was 269,637 in 2010.
Founded in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California's oldest communities. Serra's original mission was named after the 13th-century saint and bishop Louis of Toulouse. The city, locally referred to as San Luis, SLO, or SLO Town (as its county is also referred to as SLO) is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University.
The earliest human inhabitants of the local area were the Chumash people. One of the earliest villages lies south of San Luis Obispo and reflects the landscape of the early Holocene when estuaries came farther inland. The Chumash people used marine resources of the inlets and bays along the Central Coast and inhabited a network of villages, including sites at Los Osos and Morro Creek.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant School San Luis Obispo CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Program Cost. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in San Luis Obispo CA.
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