How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Degree Program near Baldwin Park California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose 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 college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should 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 credentials and training that are offered.
Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Baldwin Park CA, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent healthcare provider and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Baldwin Park CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Baldwin Park 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 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Baldwin Park CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Baldwin Park CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Baldwin Park CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Baldwin Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Baldwin Park CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Baldwin Park healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Baldwin Park 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 employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Baldwin Park 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 have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Baldwin Park CA Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Baldwin Park CA.