How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Laguna Niguel California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Laguna Niguel CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools 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 offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Laguna Niguel CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities 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 giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Laguna Niguel CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Laguna Niguel CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Laguna Niguel CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Laguna Niguel CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Laguna Niguel CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically 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, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Laguna Niguel CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Laguna Niguel medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Laguna Niguel CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Laguna Niguel CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Laguna Niguel California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Laguna Niguel CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Laguna Niguel, California
Laguna Niguel is a suburban city in Orange County, California in the United States. The name Laguna Niguel is derived from the words "Laguna" (Spanish for "lagoon") and "Niguili" (the name of a Native American village once located near Aliso Creek). As of the 2010 census, the population was 62,979. Laguna Niguel is located in the San Joaquin Hills in the southeastern corner of Orange County, close to the Pacific Ocean, and borders the cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.
Laguna Niguel has its origins in the Rancho Niguel Mexican land grant, which was acquired in 1959 by the Laguna Niguel Corporation to develop one of California's first master-planned communities. As a predominantly residential city, Laguna Niguel serves as a bedroom community for the job centers of northern and central Orange County. Laguna Niguel has a median household income 31 percent above the Orange County average and nearly double the U.S. average. It is known for its mild coastal climate, low crime rate and its numerous parks and public trails.
The first recorded inhabitants of the Laguna Niguel area were the Acjachemem Native Americans, who may have had a village called "Niguili" near the confluence of Aliso Creek and Sulphur Creek. Aliso Creek marked the boundary between the Acjachemem and Tongva people. In the 1700s, during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, Spanish missionaries established the nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano to convert the Acjachemem (called the Juañeno by the Spanish) to Christianity. The Mission lands, which included the present-day boundaries of Laguna Niguel, were divided into private land grants in 1821 upon Mexico's independence from Spain.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant College Laguna Niguel CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is 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 acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection 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 an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Laguna Niguel CA.
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