How to Enroll In an Accredited CMA School near Burbank California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying 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 go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting 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.
Why Train to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Burbank CA, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What made you choose health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job 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 can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain 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 are certified. There are basically 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 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at California junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Burbank CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Burbank CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the right option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some 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 must explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few 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 a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Burbank CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools 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 concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the California colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Burbank health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Burbank CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college 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 wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere 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 on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to 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 have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Burbank CA Medical Assistant Program
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Burbank CA.