Home >> California >> Boyle Heights >> Medical Assistant Courses


Become a Medical Assistant Boyle Heights CA 90033

How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near Boyle Heights California

Boyle Heights CA CMA holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

Boyle Heights CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Boyle Heights CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

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

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Boyle Heights CA CMA greeting patientIn contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Boyle Heights CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate 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 medical practice. 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.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Boyle Heights CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among 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). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Boyle Heights California woman attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Boyle Heights CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Boyle Heights CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Boyle Heights CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? 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 shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Boyle Heights CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Boyle Heights medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Boyle Heights 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching environment 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 on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Boyle Heights CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is 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 selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Boyle Heights CA.