How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near South Lake Tahoe California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near South Lake Tahoe CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences 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 also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the South Lake Tahoe CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many South Lake Tahoe CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options 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 typically take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive 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 involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in South Lake Tahoe CA area medical 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 choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible South Lake Tahoe CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to South Lake Tahoe CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To start 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 need to 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential South Lake Tahoe CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out 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 of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs 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, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with South Lake Tahoe CA area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the South Lake Tahoe healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the South Lake Tahoe CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near South Lake Tahoe CA, confirm 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 may be required. Additionally, find out 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 South Lake Tahoe California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the South Lake Tahoe CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
South Lake Tahoe, California
The city's population was 21,403 at the 2010 census, down from 23,609 at the 2000 census. The city extends about 5 miles (8 km) west-southwest along U.S. Route 50, also known as Lake Tahoe Boulevard. The east end of the city, on the California-Nevada state line right next to the town of Stateline, Nevada, is mainly geared towards tourism, with T-shirt shops, restaurants, hotels, and Heavenly Mountain Resort with the Nevada casinos just across the state line in Stateline. The western end of town is mainly residential, and clusters around "The Y", the X-shaped intersection of US 50, State Route 89, and the continuation of Lake Tahoe Boulevard after it loses its federal highway designation.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which 10.2 square miles (26 km2) is land and 6.4 square miles (17 km2), or 38.80%, is water. Its elevation is about 6,237 feet (1,901 m) above sea level.
The 2010 United States Census reported that South Lake Tahoe had a population of 21,403. The population density was 1,289.1 people per square mile (497.7/km²). The racial makeup of South Lake Tahoe was 15,733 (73.5%) White, 182 (0.9%) African American, 232 (1.1%) Native American, 1,186 (5.5%) Asian, 39 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 3,230 (15.1%) from other races, and 801 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,665 persons (31.1%).
Select the Right Medical Assistant College South Lake Tahoe CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example 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 Medical Assistant Course Outline. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in South Lake Tahoe CA.
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