How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Huntington Park California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Huntington Park CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Huntington Park CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Huntington Park CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Huntington Park CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Huntington Park CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take 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 also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Huntington Park CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations 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 schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Huntington Park CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Huntington Park CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Huntington Park medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Huntington Park CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntington Park CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy 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 Huntington Park California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Huntington Park CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Huntington Park, California
Named for prominent industrialist Henry E. Huntington, Huntington Park was incorporated in 1906 as a streetcar suburb on the Los Angeles Railway for workers in the rapidly expanding industries to the southeast of downtown Los Angeles. To this day, about 30% of its residents work at factories in nearby Vernon and Commerce. The stretch of Pacific Boulevard in downtown Huntington Park was a major commercial district serving the city's largely working-class residents, as well as those of neighboring cities such as Bell, Cudahy, South Gate, and Downey. As with most of the other cities along the corridor stretching along the Los Angeles River to the south and southeast of downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Park was an almost exclusively white community during most of its history; Alameda Street and Slauson Avenue, which were fiercely defended segregation lines in the 1950s, separated it from black areas.
The changes that shaped Los Angeles from the late 1970s onward—the decline of American manufacturing that began in the 1970s; the rapid growth of newer suburbs in Orange County, the eastern San Gabriel, western San Fernando and Conejo valleys; the collapse of the aerospace and defense industry at the end of the Cold War; and the implosion of the Southern California real estate boom in the early 1990s—resulted in the wholesale departure of virtually all of the white population of Huntington Park by the mid-1990s. The vacuum was filled almost entirely by two groups of Latinos: upwardly mobile families eager to leave the barrios of East Los Angeles, and recent Mexican immigrants. Today, Pacific Boulevard is once again a thriving commercial strip, serving as a major retail center for working-class residents of southeastern Los Angeles County—but unlike its previous heyday of the 1930s, the signs along the avenue's storefronts are now primarily in Spanish.
Cities surrounding Huntington Park include Bell, Cudahy, Los Angeles, Maywood, South Gate, and Vernon. In addition unincorporated areas, including Florence-Graham and Walnut Park, are adjacent to Huntington Park.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant School Huntington Park CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Huntington Park CA.
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