How to Pick an Accredited CMA Training School near Beverly Hills California
Once you have decided to become a part of 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 appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Beverly Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare 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 (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 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 typically take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Beverly Hills CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Beverly Hills CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected 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 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 discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Beverly Hills CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently 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 college.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest 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 get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the California colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Beverly Hills CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Beverly Hills health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing 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 a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
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 need to attend 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 easier with an online school, but you will still have 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose 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 college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Beverly Hills CA.