How to Choose the Right CMA School Program near Beverly Hills California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Beverly Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Beverly Hills CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Beverly Hills CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing 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 Beverly Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Beverly Hills CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose 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 one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify 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 Beverly Hills CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Beverly Hills healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Beverly Hills CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher 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 broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience 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 school while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant Program
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.