How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA Training Program near Burbank California
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all 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 kind of credentials and training that are available.
Why Study to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Burbank CA, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What drove you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Burbank CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type 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 nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Burbank CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Burbank CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty 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
There 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 attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Burbank CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Burbank CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Burbank CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the California schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Burbank medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Burbank CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Burbank CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.