How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Granada Hills California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Granada Hills CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective 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 location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Granada Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions 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 facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Courses
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Granada Hills CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Granada Hills CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting 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 provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Granada Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating 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 from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Granada Hills CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Granada Hills CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn 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 naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Granada Hills CA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Granada Hills healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Granada Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor 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 Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Granada Hills CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Granada Hills California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Granada Hills CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Granada Hills, Los Angeles
The community began as dairy farm and orchard known as the Sunshine Ranch which grew apricots, oranges, walnuts and beans. Vestiges of former citrus groves can still be seen in orange, lemon or grapefruit trees in many residential yards. In 1916, the San Fernando Valley's first oil well was drilled in what is now Granada Hills. The oil well was located at the northern tip of Zelzah Avenue. Granada Hills was founded in 1926 as "Granada;" the "Hills" portion of the name was added 15 years later.
Granada Hills is located at the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains, north of North Hills, Northridge, west of Mission Hills and Sylmar, and east of the Porter Ranch neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Ronald Reagan Freeway–Route 118 runs through its southern area.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 50,535 residents in the 15.11-square neighborhood—or 3,344 people per square mile. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 53,998. In 2000 the median age for residents was 37,
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Granada Hills CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant Fast. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Granada Hills CA.
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