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Become a Medical Assistant Anaheim CA 92801

How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant School near Anaheim California

Anaheim CA CMA holding medical chartOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Anaheim CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some 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 role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of Medical Assistants

Anaheim CA medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Anaheim CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals 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 verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Education

Anaheim CA medical assistant greeting patientUnlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Anaheim CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Anaheim CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Anaheim CA student attending medical assistant program onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good 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 to work 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 alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Anaheim CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start assessing 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. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Anaheim CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to 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 considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Anaheim CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to 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 naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Anaheim CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Anaheim health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Anaheim CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anaheim CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Anaheim CA Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if 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 need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Anaheim CA.