How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Lawndale California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lawndale CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must 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 provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Lawndale CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lawndale CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring 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 Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Lawndale CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Lawndale CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions 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 colleges that are closest to Lawndale CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following 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 Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Lawndale CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out 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. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Lawndale CA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Lawndale medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Lawndale CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lawndale CA, make certain that those times are available. You might 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 may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lawndale California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lawndale CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lawndale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 32,769 at the 2010 census, up from 31,712 according to the 2000 census. The city is in the South Bay region of the Greater Los Angeles Area.
From the 1780s onward, the area that is now Lawndale was part of the Rancho Sausal Redondo, a land grant given by the Spanish colonial government that includes much of what is now the South Bayshore region. In 1905 Charles B. Hopper first subdivided the area and named it after the Chicago neighborhood of the same name. Lots sold slowly and different promotions were tried such as promoting Lawndale as a chicken raising area. The first railway to run through Lawndale was the Inglewood Division of the Redondo Railway which would later become part of the Pacific Electric "Red Car" system. It ran down the middle of Railway Ave. (now Hawthorne Blvd.) until 1933. In 1927 the Santa Fe railroad arrived. After World War II, the immense demand for housing from returning veterans and California newcomers resulted in Lawndale's formation as a bedroom community. On December 28, 1959 it was incorporated as a city in Los Angeles county.
Starting in the 1970s Lawndale's relatively low housing prices but more desirable location relative to its neighboring cities attracted absentee landlords and a substantial portion of its residents increasingly became renters.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Lawndale CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure 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 examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Programs. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lawndale CA.
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