How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near La Canada Flintridge California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near La Canada Flintridge CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost 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 about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the La Canada Flintridge CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of La Canada Flintridge CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may 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 to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in La Canada Flintridge CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible La Canada Flintridge CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want 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 evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to La Canada Flintridge CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective La Canada Flintridge CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with La Canada Flintridge CA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the La Canada Flintridge healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the La Canada Flintridge CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near La Canada Flintridge CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near La Canada Flintridge California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the La Canada Flintridge CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
La Cañada Flintridge, California
La Cañada Flintridge is a city in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 20,246 in 2010. It is located in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley, to the northwest of Pasadena. It is the home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Before the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint.
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program La Canada Flintridge CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs before 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 choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in La Canada Flintridge CA.
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