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Become a Medical Assistant Canoga Park CA 91303

How to Select an Accredited Medical Assistant School Program near Canoga Park California

Canoga Park CA CMA holding medical chartOnce you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Canoga Park CA, it's time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?

When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Canoga Park CA, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What drove you to pick health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Canoga Park CA CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Canoga Park CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many 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 tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses

Canoga Park CA CMA greeting patientUnlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have 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 essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at California junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Canoga Park CA medical employers just will not hire 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) 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, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

Canoga Park California student attending medical assistant online programThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for California students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Canoga Park CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, 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. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Canoga Park CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, 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 Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start 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 want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Canoga Park CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Canoga Park medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Canoga Park CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Canoga Park CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right 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 get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Canoga Park CA.