How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Duarte California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Duarte CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many 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 location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Duarte CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 Training
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Duarte CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Duarte CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Duarte CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, 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, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind 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 procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Duarte CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Duarte CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select 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 just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Duarte CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Duarte healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Duarte CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Duarte CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Duarte California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Duarte CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
It is bounded to the north by the San Gabriel Mountains, to the north and west by the cities of Bradbury and Monrovia, to the south by the city of Irwindale, and to the east by the cities of Irwindale and Azusa.
Duarte is located on historic U.S. Route 66 which today follows Huntington Drive through the middle of the city. The town holds an annual Salute to Route 66 Parade on the third weekend in September on Huntington Drive.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Duarte had a population of 21,321. The population density was 3,186.8 people per square mile (1,230.4/km²). The racial makeup of Duarte was 11,076 (51.9%) White (26.9% Non-Hispanic White), 1,587 (7.4%) African American, 179 (0.8%) Native American, 3,361 (15.8%) Asian, 26 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 4,108 (19.3%) from other races, and 984 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10,190 persons (47.8%).
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Duarte CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper 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 must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Duarte CA.
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