How to Find the Best Medical Assistant School near Burbank California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Burbank CA, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask Medical Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to select health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Burbank CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Education
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Burbank 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 generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element 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 Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Burbank CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Burbank CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Burbank CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Burbank CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Burbank health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little 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 program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Burbank CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.