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Become a Medical Assistant Brea CA 92821

How to Select the Right CMA Course near Brea California

Brea CA CMA holding medical chartOnce you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Brea CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many 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 location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Brea CA, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.

The Function of Medical Assistants

Brea CA medical assistant taking blood pressure reading of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Brea CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Brea CA medical assistant opening door for patientUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Brea CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at California junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Brea CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

Brea CA woman attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for California students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Brea CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Brea CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Brea CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose 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 ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Brea CA area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Brea medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Brea CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brea CA, make sure that those times are available. 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 might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Right Brea CA Medical Assistant Program

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select 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 type of credential that you plan 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Brea CA.