How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Calabasas California
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Calabasas CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may choose to take a look at a few 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 finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Calabasas CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Calabasas CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Calabasas CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right choice for you. Between 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Calabasas CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Calabasas CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Calabasas CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Calabasas CA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Calabasas health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Calabasas CA area and ask 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may 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 prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school 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 important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Calabasas CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will 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 Calabasas California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Calabasas CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.
It is generally accepted that the name of Calabasas is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin", "squash", or "gourd" (cf. calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is derived from the Chumash word calahoosa which is said to mean "where the wild geese fly." Owing to vast presence of wild squash plants in the area, the squash theory is more prevalent among local residents. At the top of the Calabasas grade, which is east of Las Virgenes Road on the original El Camino Real, legend has it that in 1824, a Basque rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins on the road en route to Los Angeles. The following spring, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. The area was named Las Calabasas—the place where the pumpkins fell.
In honor of its namesake, the City of Calabasas and the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hold an annual Pumpkin Festival in October, including carnival games, exhibits, demonstrations, and live entertainment. The festival has evolved from a small-town fair to a significant annual event. Though the current Pumpkin Festival is held at Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas, the original festival was believed to have taken place where the traveling wagon carrying pumpkins overturned and started the area's first pumpkin patch.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Calabasas CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire 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 upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Calabasas CA.
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