How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near Buena Park California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buena Park CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, 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 function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Buena Park CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Buena Park CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Buena Park CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Buena Park 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 perhaps 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 examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Buena Park CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Buena Park CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, 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 college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Buena Park CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Buena Park healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Buena Park CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and 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 imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Buena Park CA Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical 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 online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Buena Park CA.