How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near Anaheim California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Anaheim CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
Why Study to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Anaheim CA, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to decide on health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Anaheim CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Anaheim CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Anaheim CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Anaheim CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Anaheim CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program 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 normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Anaheim CA employers will not hire 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 schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Anaheim CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Anaheim healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating 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 students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication 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 furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Anaheim CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Anaheim CA.