How to Select the Right Medical Assistant Course near Burbank California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Burbank CA, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assistance, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Burbank CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities 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 physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, 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 are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at California community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring 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.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Burbank CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for California students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Burbank CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Burbank CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following 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 School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Burbank CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course 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 obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Burbank CA area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Burbank medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing 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 graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you select 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 offered. You may 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 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 Best Burbank CA Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.