Home >> California >> Chatsworth >> Medical Assistant Degrees


Become a Medical Assistant Chatsworth CA 91311

How to Find the Best CMA Training School near Chatsworth California

Chatsworth CA medical assistant with medical chartOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chatsworth CA, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?

When prepping to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Chatsworth CA, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to pick health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assistance, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

The Job of Medical Assistants

Chatsworth CA medical assistant measuring vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Chatsworth CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some prefer 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Chatsworth CA CMA greeting patientIn contrast to most other medical 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 choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Chatsworth CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Chatsworth California student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for California students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Chatsworth CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Chatsworth CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Chatsworth CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passing 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 need to 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 example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program'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 college's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially 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, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the California schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Chatsworth CA area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Chatsworth healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Chatsworth CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will 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 responsibilities.

Choose the Best Chatsworth CA Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Chatsworth CA.