How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Shasta Lake California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Shasta Lake CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Shasta Lake CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Shasta Lake CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (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 acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 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 liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Shasta Lake CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Shasta Lake CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Shasta Lake CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below 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 College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate 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 Shasta Lake CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, 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 college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Shasta Lake CA area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Shasta Lake healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Shasta Lake 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Shasta Lake CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Shasta Lake California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Shasta Lake CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Shasta Lake, California
The City of Shasta Lake, known as Central Valley or CV prior to incorporation, is a city in Shasta County, California, United States. It is the closest settlement to Shasta Dam and Shasta Lake reservoir, which are popular tourist destinations. The population was 10,164 at the 2010 census, up from 9,008 at the 2000 census.
Shasta Lake started out as five small communities named Central Valley, Toyon, Project City, Pine Grove, and Summit City, all of which came about with the beginning of construction of Shasta Dam in 1938. Project City was built at the intersection of U.S. Route 99 and Shasta Dam Boulevard, a larger Central Valley at a midpoint on Shasta Dam Blvd., Summit City at the intersection of Shasta Dam Boulevard and Lake Boulevard, and Pine Grove at what today is the intersection of Interstate 5 and Pine Grove Avenue.
The Bureau of Reclamation built the town of Toyon, first called Government Camp. Toyon was the premier community, built on 41 acres (17 hectares) of what was once the Seaman Ranch. By 1950 Toyon had two tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, a Community Center, green lawns, concrete side walks, commercial water and power from Shasta Dam, its own sewage treatment plant, and its own landfill. Initially, Toyon also had two large dormitories for bachelor employees. All the residents of Toyon worked for the US Bureau of Reclamation. Bureau headquarters office and maintenance facilities were located on Kenneth Ave, parallel to Shasta Dam Blvd.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Shasta Lake CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. 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 important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Prerequisites. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Shasta Lake CA.
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