Home >> California >> Azusa >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant Azusa CA 91010

How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Program near Azusa California

Azusa CA medical assistant with medical chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Azusa CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Azusa CA CMA taking vital signs of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Azusa CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training

Azusa CA medical assistant greeting patient on crutchesUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Azusa CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at California community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. 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 applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Azusa California woman attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Azusa CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Azusa CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Azusa CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee 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 acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Azusa CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the California schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

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

Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Azusa CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Azusa CA Medical Assistant Training

It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as 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 made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make 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 begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Azusa CA.