How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Sebastopol California
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sebastopol CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Sebastopol CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Sebastopol CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 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 normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Sebastopol CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Sebastopol CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained 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 exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like 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 researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Sebastopol CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school 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 aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Sebastopol CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Sebastopol CA area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Sebastopol medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Sebastopol CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere 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 to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Sebastopol 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 still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Sebastopol California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Sebastopol CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Sebastopol /səˈbæstəpoʊl/ or /səˈbæstəpuːl/ is a city in Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country. The population was 7,379 at the 2010 U.S. Census, but its businesses also serve surrounding rural portions of Sonoma County, a region known as West County, which has a population of up to 50,000 residents.
It is about a 20-minute drive from the Pacific Ocean, between Santa Rosa and Bodega Bay, and is known for its liberal politics and small-town charm. It was once primarily a plum- and apple-growing region; wine grapes, however, are now predominant, and nearly all lands once used for orchards are now vineyards. World-famous horticulturist Luther Burbank had gardens in this fertile region. The city hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival and Gravenstein Apple Fair.
The area's first known inhabitants were the native Coast Miwok and Pomo peoples. The town of Sebastopol formed in the 1850s with a U.S. Post Office and as a small trade center for the farmers of the surrounding agricultural region. As California's population swelled after the westward migration[which?] and the California Gold Rush of 1848-1855, more and more settlers drifted into the fertile California valleys north of San Francisco to try their hand at farming.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant School Sebastopol CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing 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 choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Community College. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sebastopol CA.
More Medical Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 200