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Become a Medical Assistant Beverly Hills CA 90209

How to Enroll In the Right CMA Program near Beverly Hills California

Beverly Hills CA CMA with patient chartOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Medical Assistant

Beverly Hills CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Beverly Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Beverly Hills CA CMA opening door for patientIn contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Beverly Hills CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Beverly Hills CA woman attending medical assistant online schoolThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Beverly Hills CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Beverly Hills CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Beverly Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Beverly Hills CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Beverly Hills health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools 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 an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend 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 online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.