Home >> California >> Aliso Viejo >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant Aliso Viejo CA 92651

How to Find the Best CMA Training School near Aliso Viejo California

Aliso Viejo CA CMA holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Aliso Viejo CA, it's time to choose 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 best one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option 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 important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Aliso Viejo CA CMA taking vital signs of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Aliso Viejo CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical 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 filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

Aliso Viejo CA CMA opening door for patient on crutchesUnlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Aliso Viejo CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Aliso Viejo California student attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Aliso Viejo CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Aliso Viejo CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Aliso Viejo CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues 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 schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Aliso Viejo CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, 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 college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the California schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Aliso Viejo CA area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Aliso Viejo healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Aliso Viejo CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Aliso Viejo CA Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Aliso Viejo CA.