How to Choose an Accredited Medical Assistant Training Program near Chino California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chino CA, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin 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 also. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included a few 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Chino CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Chino CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at California community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for California students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Chino CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Chino CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take 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, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Chino CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Chino CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine 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 obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the California colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Chino CA area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Chino health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Chino CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chino CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Chino CA Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right 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 lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Chino CA.