How to Pick an Accredited CMA Training Program near Burbank California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal 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 cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Burbank CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. 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 providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer 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 Training Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Burbank CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Burbank CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Burbank CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit 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 also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Burbank CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Burbank CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Burbank medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Burbank CA area and ask 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Burbank CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info 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 personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.