Home >> California >> Bellflower >> Medical Assistant Classes


Become a Medical Assistant Bellflower CA 90706

How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Bellflower California

Bellflower CA CMA with medical chartNow that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bellflower CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 type of credentials and training that are offered.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Bellflower CA medical assistant taking vital signs of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Bellflower CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Programs

Bellflower CA CMA welcoming patientUnlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bellflower CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Bellflower CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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 take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Bellflower CA woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for California students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Bellflower CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating 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 Bellflower CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant 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 process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Bellflower CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the California schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Bellflower CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Bellflower healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Bellflower CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Bellflower CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bellflower CA.