How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Gardena California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Gardena CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Gardena CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Gardena 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 generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals 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 available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate 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 facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Gardena CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary 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 choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Gardena CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other 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 Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Gardena CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching 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 choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Gardena CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Gardena CA area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Gardena medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Gardena CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, 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 positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe 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 important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Gardena CA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Gardena California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Gardena CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Gardena is a city located in the South Bay (southwestern) region of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 58,829 at the 2010 census, up from 57,746 at the 2000 census. Until 2014, the US census cited the City of Gardena as the place with the highest percentage of Japanese Americans in California. Gardena has a large Japanese population, helping make the South Bay region of Los Angeles home to the largest concentration of Japanese companies within the mainland United States.
Based on archaeological findings, the Tongva people hunted and fished in the area of today's Gardena. The Tongva Indians — also known as Gabrielino Indians — are probably descendants of those who crossed from Asia to North America around 10,000 years ago.
In 1784, three years after the foundation of Los Angeles, Juan Jose Dominguez (1736–1809), a Spanish soldier who arrived in San Diego, California in 1769 with Fernando Rivera y Moncada, in recognition of his military service, received the roughly 43,000-acre (170 km2) Spanish land grant, the Rancho San Pedro. Part of this land contained what became known as Gardena Valley. After the American Civil War veterans bought parts of the land, and soon ranchers and farmers followed suit. Union Army Major General William Starke Rosecrans in 1869 bought 16,000 acres (65 km2). The "Rosecrans Rancho" was bordered by what later was Florence Avenue on the north, Redondo Beach Boulevard on the south, Central Avenue on the east, and Arlington Avenue on the west. The Rosecrans property was subdivided and sold in the early 1870s. One of those became the 650-acre (2.6 km2) Amestoy Ranch. Gardena proper began in 1887 when the Pomeroy & Harrison real estate developers subdivided the ranch, anticipating the coming of the Los Angeles and Redondo Railway. Civil War veteran Spencer Roane Thorpe is credited with starting the first settlement in Gardena in 1887. Railroads put Gardena on the map following a real estate boom in the Los Angeles area in the 1880s.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Course Gardena CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Best Colleges For Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type 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 provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Gardena CA.
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