How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Brea California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Brea CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Brea CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Brea CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Brea CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Brea CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Brea CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Brea CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low 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 choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Brea CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Brea healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Brea CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brea CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Brea California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Brea CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The city began as a center of crude oil production, was later propelled by citrus production, and is now an important retail center because of the large Brea Mall and the recently redeveloped Brea Downtown. Brea is also known for its extensive public art program which began in 1975 and continues today with over 140 artworks in the collection placed and located throughout the city. Brea's public art program has been used as a model and inspiration for many public art programs across the United States.
The area was visited on July 29, 1769 by the Spanish Portolá expedition – the first Europeans to see inland parts of Alta California. The party camped in Brea Canyon, near a large native village and a small pool of clean water. A historical marker dedicated to his visit stands in Brea Canyon just north of town.
The village of Olinda was founded in present-day Carbon Canyon at the beginning of the 19th century and many entrepreneurs came to the area searching for "black gold" (petroleum). In 1894, the owner of the land, Abel Stearns, sold 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) to the west of Olinda to the newly created Union Oil Company of California, and by 1898 many nearby hills began sporting wooden oil-drilling towers on the newly discovered Brea-Olinda Oil Field. In 1908 the village of Randolph, named for railway engineer Epes Randolph, was founded just south of Brea Canyon for the oil workers and their families. Baseball legend Walter Johnson grew up in Olinda at the start of the 20th century where he worked in the surrounding oil fields as a youth.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Brea CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Best School For Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Brea CA.
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