How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Course near Chino Hills California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option 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 pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Chino Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Chino Hills CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for California students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Chino Hills CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Chino Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Chino Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some 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 many great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Chino Hills 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 design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the California schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Chino Hills CA area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Chino Hills medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Chino Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small 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 few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Chino Hills CA Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical 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 on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Chino Hills CA.