How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Hawthorne California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hawthorne CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 critical issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Hawthorne CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Hawthorne CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Hawthorne CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, 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 position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Hawthorne CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Hawthorne CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Hawthorne CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of 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 for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Hawthorne CA area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Hawthorne medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Hawthorne CA area and ask 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hawthorne CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hawthorne California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hawthorne CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hawthorne is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of 2010[update] it had a population of 84,293, up from 84,112 in 2000. In 2013, the population was 86,200.
The city was founded in 1905 as the "Hawthorne Improvement Company" by B.L. Harding and H.D. Lombard. Harding's daughter shared her birthday—the 4th of July, American Independence Day—with New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a decision was made to name the city after him.
To the north of Hawthorne is the unincorporated community of Lennox and the city of Inglewood. To the east is the unincorporated community of Athens and the city of Gardena. To the south is the unincorporated community of El Camino Village, and the cities of Lawndale and Redondo Beach. Manhattan Beach is at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. To the west is the city of El Segundo and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester is to the northwest of Hawthorne. The unincorporated community of Del Aire is surrounded on three sides by the city of Hawthorne along western edge of Hawthorne.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School Hawthorne CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Schools. But regardless of the kind 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hawthorne CA.
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