How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Training School near Beverly Hills California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Beverly Hills CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Beverly Hills CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There 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 a particularly good alternative for California students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Beverly Hills CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Beverly Hills CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school 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 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Beverly Hills CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Beverly Hills medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm 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 higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you're planning 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 get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.