How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Union City California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Union City CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. 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 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 offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Union City CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Union City CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Union City CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Union City 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Union City CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Union City CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating 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 ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Union City CA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Union City health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Union City CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms 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 positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Union City CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Union City California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Union City CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Union City, California
Union City is a city in the San Francisco Bay Area in Alameda County, California, United States located approximately 20 miles south of Oakland, 30 miles southeast of San Francisco, and 20 miles north of San Jose. Incorporated in 1959, combining the communities of Alvarado, New Haven, and Decoto, the city has approximately 75,000 residents and very diverse population. Alvarado is a California Historical Landmark (#503). The city celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2009. The Cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City make up the Tri-City Area to the south. The larger City of Hayward surrounds the city to the north. The Union City Area and Hayward hosts many local events,a new Teen Center open for the youth. In 2017 Union City started to rebrand and got a new city seal.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19 square miles (49 km2), all land with no bay frontage. The Niles Cone aquifer, managed by the Alameda County Water District, supplies much of the water consumed by Union City.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Union City had a population of 69,516. The population density was 3,570.6 people per square mile (1,378.6/km²). The racial makeup of Union City was 16,640 (23.9%) White, 4,402 (6.3%) Black, 329 (0.5%) Native American, 35,363 (50.9%) Asian, (20.0% Filipino, 12% Indian, 12% Chinese, 3.7% Vietnamese, 0.9% Korean, 0.6% Japanese, 0.6% Pakistani, 0.4% Burmese, 0.2% Cambodian), 892 (1.3%) Pacific Islander, 7,253 (10.4%) from other races, and 4,637 (6.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15,895 persons (22.9%).
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant College Union City CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info 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 personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget 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 ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Union City CA.
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