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Become a Medical Assistant Azusa CA 91010

How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Training Program near Azusa California

Azusa CA medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Azusa CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Azusa CA medical assistant 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 medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving general 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 specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Courses

Azusa CA CMA greeting patient on crutchesCompared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Azusa CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Azusa California woman attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Azusa CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Azusa CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Azusa CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Azusa CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask 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. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Azusa CA area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Azusa medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Azusa CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction 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 instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Best Azusa CA Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if 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 right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Azusa CA.