Home >> California >> Bellflower >> Medical Assistant Schools Near Me


Become a Medical Assistant Bellflower CA 90706

How to Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program near Bellflower California

Bellflower CA CMA holding patient chartOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bellflower CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Bellflower CA CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Bellflower CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type 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 professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Bellflower CA CMA opening door for patientIn contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Bellflower CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Bellflower California woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice 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 choice for California students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Bellflower CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Bellflower CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want 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 procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bellflower CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available 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 program.

What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

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

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bellflower CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings 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 still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Right Bellflower CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're objective 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 get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example 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 decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Bellflower CA.