Home >> California >> Azusa >> Medical Assistant Degrees


Become a Medical Assistant Azusa CA 91010

How to Enroll In the Right CMA Course near Azusa California

Azusa CA medical assistant with medical chartOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Azusa CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

Why Train to Be a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Azusa CA, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Azusa CA medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Azusa CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified 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 Programs

Azusa CA CMA greeting patient on crutchesIn contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Azusa CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at California junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Azusa CA medical employers just will not employ 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

Azusa CA woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Azusa CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Azusa CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Azusa CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Azusa CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Azusa medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Azusa CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, 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 jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely 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 get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Azusa CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish 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 life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Azusa CA.