How to Pick an Accredited Medical Assistant School Program near Canoga Park California
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Canoga Park CA, it's time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Canoga Park CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities 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 tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Canoga Park CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at California junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Canoga Park CA medical employers just will not employ 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). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental 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 met, but they can often be carried out in Canoga Park CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Canoga Park CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted agencies 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Canoga Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Canoga Park CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Canoga Park medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Canoga Park CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Canoga Park 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 also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Canoga Park CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Canoga Park CA.