How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near La Mirada 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 La Mirada CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the La Mirada CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending 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 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. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of La Mirada CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in La Mirada CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible La Mirada CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to La Mirada CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential La Mirada CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at 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, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with La Mirada CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the La Mirada healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the La Mirada CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near La Mirada CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near La Mirada California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the La Mirada CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
La Mirada, California
La Mirada is a city in southeast Los Angeles County, California United States, and is one of the Gateway Cities. The population was 48,527 at the 2010 census, up from 46,783 at the 2000 census. In 2006, the city of La Mirada was listed on CNN Money Magazine's "Best Place to Live" list. La Mirada placed 34th on the list, with the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center as two of its main attributes. It is also the home of Biola University, an evangelical Christian institution of higher education.
La Mirada (Spanish for the look) was the creation of two men, Andrew McNally, a printer and mapmaker from Chicago (see Rand McNally) and his son-in-law Edwin Neff. In 1888, McNally purchased over 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) of Rancho Los Coyotes, south of Whittier, for $200,000. He developed 700 acres (2.8 km2) into his own home called Windermere Ranch and surrounded it with olive, orange and lemon groves. McNally built a plant to process the olive oil, which was of the best quality, as well as a railroad station on Stage Road. From here his olive oil and fruit were shipped all over the U.S.
In 1896, McNally turned his property over to his daughter and his son in law. McNally and Neff formed the La Mirada Land Company, which published a booklet entitled "The Country Gentleman in California", advertising parcels of land for sale including pictures, a map and descriptions of the scenic olive, alfalfa, lemon and grapefruit groves.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training La Mirada CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Technician. But regardless 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in La Mirada CA.
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