How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Marina Del Rey California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Marina Del Rey CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future students start by checking out 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all 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 Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Marina Del Rey CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Education
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Marina Del Rey CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Marina Del Rey CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Marina Del Rey CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Marina Del Rey CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive 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 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Marina Del Rey CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Marina Del Rey CA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Marina Del Rey healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that 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 evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Marina Del Rey CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marina Del Rey CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Marina Del Rey California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Marina Del Rey CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Marina del Rey, California
Marina del Rey is an unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, United States with a marina that is a major boating and water recreation destination of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The marina is North America's largest man-made small-craft harbor and is home to approximately 5,000 boats. The area is a popular tourism destination for water activities such as paddle board and kayak rentals, dining cruises, and yacht charters. This Westside locale is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Santa Monica, and 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Los Angeles International Airport.
The harbor is owned by Los Angeles County and is operated by the County's Department of Beaches and Harbors. The population was 8,866 at the 2010 census. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Marina del Rey as a census-designated place (CDP). The census definition of the area may not precisely correspond to local understanding of the area with the same name. The Los Angeles Times said in a 1997 editorial that the harbor is "perhaps the county's most valuable resource".
Prior to its development as a small craft harbor, the land occupied by Marina del Rey was a salt-marsh fed by fresh water from Ballona Creek, frequented by duck hunters and few others. Burton W. Chace, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, referred to the area as mud flats, though today the area would more properly be referred to as wetlands.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program Marina Del Rey CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant Fast. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Marina Del Rey CA.
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