How to Enroll In the Best Medical Assistant Course near Anaheim California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Anaheim CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Anaheim CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Anaheim CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at California community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Anaheim CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Anaheim CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, 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 covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Anaheim CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Anaheim CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out 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 obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school'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. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Anaheim CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Anaheim medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Anaheim CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical 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 might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Anaheim CA Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied 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 Anaheim CA.