Home >> California >> Beverly Hills >> How To Become A Medical Assistant


Become a Medical Assistant Beverly Hills CA 90209

How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant School near Beverly Hills California

Beverly Hills CA medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Study to Be a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Beverly Hills CA, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What drove you to pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assistance, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Beverly Hills CA CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Beverly Hills CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving 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. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

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

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Beverly Hills CA CMA greeting patientUnlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Beverly Hills CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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 be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Beverly Hills CA woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option 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 to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Beverly Hills CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Beverly Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Beverly Hills CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the California colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Beverly Hills health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Beverly Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Best Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant Program

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information 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 individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.