How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Sausalito California
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sausalito CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Sausalito CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer 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
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Sausalito CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare 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 as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Sausalito CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Sausalito CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Sausalito CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Sausalito CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Sausalito CA area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Sausalito health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Sausalito CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Sausalito CA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Sausalito California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Sausalito CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Sausalito's population was 7,061 as of the 2010 census. The community is situated near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and prior to the building of that bridge served as a terminus for rail, car, and ferry traffic.
Sausalito developed rapidly as a shipbuilding center in World War II, with its industrial character giving way in postwar years to a reputation as a wealthy and artistic enclave, a picturesque residential community (incorporating large numbers of houseboats), and a tourist destination. The city is adjacent to, and largely bounded by, the protected spaces of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The name of Sausalito comes from Spanish sauzalito, meaning "small willow grove", from sauce "willow" + collective derivative -al meaning "place of abundance" + diminutive suffix -ito; with orthographic corruption from z to s due to seseo. Early variants of the name were Saucelito, San Salita, San Saulito, San Salito, Sancolito, Sancilito, Sousolito, Sousalita, Sousilito, Sausilito, and Sauz Saulita.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Sausalito CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Course. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sausalito CA.
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