Home >> California >> Chino Hills >> Medical Assistant Degrees


Become a Medical Assistant Chino Hills CA 91709

How to Enroll In the Right CMA School near Chino Hills California

Chino Hills CA CMA holding patient chartOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

Why Study to Be a CMA?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Chino Hills CA, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assistance, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

Chino Hills CA CMA taking vital signs of patient

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Chino Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific 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 Programs

Chino Hills CA medical assistant welcoming patientCompared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Chino Hills CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at California junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring 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 related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Chino Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Chino Hills CA student attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Chino Hills CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Chino Hills CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by one 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 often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Chino Hills CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the California schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Chino Hills CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Chino Hills healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Chino Hills CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Chino Hills CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if 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 need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Chino Hills CA.