How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Stanford California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Stanford CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided several 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Stanford CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. 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 providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing 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 physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Stanford CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Stanford CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Stanford CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Stanford CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Stanford CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Stanford CA area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Stanford healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a difficult undertaking 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 Stanford CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication 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 offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Stanford CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Stanford California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Stanford CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Stanford is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Clara County, California, United States and is the home of Stanford University. The population was 13,809 at the 2010 census, with a daily population of 35,000.
Stanford is an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County and is adjacent to the city of Palo Alto. Stanford, California is a valid postal address, and has its own post office and ZIP Codes: 94305 (campus buildings) and 94309 (post-office boxes). A popular landmark is the Dish.
Most of the Stanford University campus and other core University owned land is situated within the census-designated place of Stanford though the Stanford University Medical Center, the Stanford Shopping Center, and the Stanford Research Park are officially part of the city of Palo Alto. Its resident population consists of the inhabitants of on-campus housing, including graduate student residences and single-family homes and condominium owned by their faculty inhabitants but located on leased Stanford land. A residential neighborhood adjacent to the Stanford campus, College Terrace, featuring streets named after universities and colleges, including Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Princeton, is neither part of the Stanford CDP nor owned by the University but is part of Palo Alto.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Stanford CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Training. But irrespective of the kind 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Stanford CA.
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