How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Buena Park California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buena Park CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Buena Park CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Training Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Buena Park CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at California community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Buena Park CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice 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 option for California students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Buena Park CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Buena Park CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Buena Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want 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 just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Buena Park CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Buena Park medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Buena Park CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high 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 broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large 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 greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to observe 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 college while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buena Park CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might 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 issues.
Choose the Right Buena Park CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Buena Park CA.