How to Find an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Burlingame California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burlingame CA, it's time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Burlingame CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Burlingame CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 normally 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Burlingame CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Burlingame CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Burlingame CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Burlingame CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select 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 ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Burlingame CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Burlingame healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Burlingame CA area and find out 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 healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame 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 still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Burlingame CA Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Burlingame CA.