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Become a Medical Assistant Boyle Heights CA 90033

How to Enroll In the Right Medical Assistant School near Boyle Heights California

Boyle Heights CA medical assistant holding patient chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Boyle Heights CA medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Boyle Heights CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Programs

Boyle Heights CA medical assistant welcoming patient on crutchesIn contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Boyle Heights CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at California community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Boyle Heights CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Boyle Heights California woman attending medical assistant online classesThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Boyle Heights CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Boyle Heights CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Boyle Heights CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting 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, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the California schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Boyle Heights CA area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Boyle Heights healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that 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 colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Boyle Heights CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to 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 easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Boyle Heights CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly 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 made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Boyle Heights CA.