How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Lancaster California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lancaster CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Lancaster CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lancaster CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently 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 four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend 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 degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Lancaster CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Lancaster CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Lancaster CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Lancaster 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 colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn 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 evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, 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 fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Lancaster CA area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Lancaster healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Lancaster CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher 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 contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lancaster CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lancaster California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lancaster CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lancaster /ˈlæn.kæstər/ is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California. As of 2013, Lancaster was the 31st largest city in California. Lancaster is part of a twin city complex with its southern neighbor Palmdale and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region.
Lancaster is located approximately 61 miles (98 km) north (by highway) of downtown Los Angeles, near the Kern County line. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north. The population of Lancaster grew from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 156,000 in 2010. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2015, Lancaster has a population of 168,049.
The area where Lancaster is now located, known as the Antelope Valley, was originally home to the Paiute Indians. Lancaster's origins as a settlement start with the Southern Pacific Railroad, which is believed to first use the name Lancaster, where a station house, locomotive watering facilities and section gang housing were built when the railroad laid track through the town's future location. In 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the line through the Antelope Valley, linking San Francisco and Los Angeles. The origin of Lancaster's name is unclear, attributed variously to the surname of a railroad station clerk, the moniker given by railroad officials, or the former Pennsylvania home (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) of unknown settlers. Train service brought passengers through the water-stop-turned-community, which, with the help of promotional literature, attracted new settlers. The person credited with formally developing the town is Moses Langley Wicks, who in 1884 bought property from the railroad for $2.50 per acre, mapped out a town with streets and lots, and by September was advertising 160-acre tracts of land for $6 an acre. The following year, the Lancaster News started publication, making it the first weekly newspaper in the Antelope Valley. By 1890, Lancaster was bustling and booming, and thanks to adequate rainfall, farmers planted and sold thousands of acres of wheat and barley.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Lancaster CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant School Cost. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lancaster CA.
More Medical Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 100