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Become a Medical Assistant Canoga Park CA 91303

How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Canoga Park California

Canoga Park CA CMA holding medical chartOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Canoga Park CA, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

Canoga Park CA medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Canoga Park CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some 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
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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

Canoga Park CA CMA welcoming patientIn contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, 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 school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Canoga Park CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

Canoga Park California student attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for California students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Canoga Park CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Canoga Park CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure 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 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Canoga Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the California schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Canoga Park CA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Canoga Park medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Canoga Park 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 an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Best Canoga Park CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective 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 need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate 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 best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Canoga Park CA.