How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near Boyle Heights California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Boyle Heights CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain 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
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Boyle Heights 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 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided 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 liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Boyle Heights CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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 thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for California students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Boyle Heights CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like 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 procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Boyle Heights CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Boyle Heights CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school'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 college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the California schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Boyle Heights CA area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Boyle Heights medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching 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 students, it affirms that it has a good 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 Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on 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 Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Boyle Heights CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision 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 a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 rewarding career as a medical assistant in Boyle Heights CA.