How to Select the Best Medical Assistant Program near Beverly Hills California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" 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 offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Beverly Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Beverly Hills CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for students who might 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 working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Beverly Hills CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Beverly Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently 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 school.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, 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 of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask 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 school's program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? 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, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Beverly Hills health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Beverly Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate 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 may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Beverly Hills CA Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.