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How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Beverly Hills California

Beverly Hills CA medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean 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 as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line 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 help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to 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 offered.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Beverly Hills CA medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Beverly Hills CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Education

Beverly Hills CA CMA greeting patientCompared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Beverly Hills CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Beverly Hills California woman attending medical assistant classes onlineThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Beverly Hills CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Beverly Hills CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Beverly Hills CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing 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. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose 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 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Beverly Hills health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Beverly Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.