How to Find the Best CMA Training Program near Burbank California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out 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, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Burbank CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid 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 attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Burbank CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Burbank CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Burbank CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Burbank CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Burbank CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the California colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Burbank medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Burbank CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small 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 practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Burbank CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Burbank CA Medical Assistant Program
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.