Medical Assistant Colleges Watsonville CA

How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Watsonville California

Watsonville CA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Watsonville CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Watsonville CA nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Watsonville CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing 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 physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Watsonville CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as 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 training. They often have a clinical element involving 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 similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

woman attending medical assistant school online in Watsonville CAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have 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 to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Watsonville CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work 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 choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Watsonville CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Watsonville CA medical assistant programsPrior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Watsonville CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating programs. To help 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 selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Watsonville CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, 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 methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Watsonville CA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Watsonville medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Watsonville CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Watsonville CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Watsonville California?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Watsonville CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Watsonville, California

Watsonville is a city in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The population was 51,199 according to the 2010 census.[8] Located on the central coast of California, the economy centers predominantly around the farming industry. It is known for growing strawberries, apples, lettuce and a host of other vegetables. Watsonville is home to people of varied ethnic backgrounds. There is a large Hispanic population, as well as groups of Croatians, Filipinos, Portuguese, Sikhs, and Japanese that live and work in the city.

The Pajaro Valley, where Watsonville is located, has a climate that is around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout much of the year. This climate makes Watsonville an attractive coastal environment for the neighboring inland communities with very hot summers. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District has an attendance of about 18,000 students kindergarten through 12th grades. There are several private religious-based schools in Watsonville such as Notre Dame School, Monte Vista Christian, Salesian Sisters, and St. Francis. There are also several charter schools and the non-religious independent Pre-K through 12th grade Mount Madonna School. These schools provide a wide range of educational options for local families. Watsonville is generally conservative on the political spectrum, and average relative to the neighboring communities of Salinas, Castroville, and Prunedale. It is, however, a self-designated sanctuary city.[9]

The larger coastal town directly north of Watsonville is the city of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a draw for many young college students who attend Cabrillo College or University of California, Santa Cruz. Because Watsonville and Santa Cruz are beach towns, they draw many visitors from San Jose and from the Central Valley areas. Like neighboring Salinas in Monterey County, Watsonville produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, primarily apples, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and table mushrooms.

Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course Watsonville CA

Watsonville CA medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Watsonville CA.

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