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Become a Medical Assistant Brea CA 92821

How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Training School near Brea California

Brea CA medical assistant holding medical chartNow that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Brea CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

Why Train to Become a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Brea CA, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.

The Job of Medical Assistants

Brea CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Brea CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Training Courses

Brea CA CMA greeting patientCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Brea 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 essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied 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 wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Brea CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

Brea California woman attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Brea CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Brea CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Brea CA employers will not employ 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 colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring 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, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Brea CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Brea health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Brea CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brea CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Brea CA Medical Assistant Program

It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on 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 an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Brea CA.