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Become a Medical Assistant Chatsworth CA 91311

How to Enroll In the Right CMA School Program near Chatsworth California

Chatsworth CA CMA with medical chartOnce you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chatsworth CA, it's time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences 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 also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

Chatsworth CA CMA measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Chatsworth CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Programs

Chatsworth CA medical assistant greeting patientIn contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Chatsworth CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at California junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Chatsworth CA woman attending medical assistant school onlineThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended 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 cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Chatsworth CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Chatsworth CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided 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. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Chatsworth CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee 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 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 program is not accredited by one 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 frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Chatsworth CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Chatsworth CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Chatsworth health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Chatsworth CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention 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 teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chatsworth 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 still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Chatsworth CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Chatsworth CA.