How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near North Hollywood California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near North Hollywood CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the North Hollywood CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of North Hollywood CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally 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 prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in North Hollywood CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential North Hollywood CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to North Hollywood CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective North Hollywood CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with North Hollywood CA area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the North Hollywood health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the North Hollywood CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near North Hollywood CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near North Hollywood California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the North Hollywood CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
North Hollywood, Los Angeles
North Hollywood is a neighborhood located in the east San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles. It is home to the NoHo Arts District and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and it has seven public and eight private schools. There is a municipal park and a recreation center. The neighborhood is an important transportation center.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 77,848 residents in the 5.87-square-mile North Hollywood neighborhood—or 13,264 people per square mile, about an average population density for the city but among the highest for the county. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 87,241. In 2000 the median age for residents was 30, considered an average age for city and county neighborhoods; the percentage of residents aged 19 to 34 was among the county's highest.
The neighborhood was considered "moderately diverse" ethnically within Los Angeles. The breakdown was Latinos, 57.7%; whites, 27%; Asians, 5.7%; blacks, 5.6%; and others, 4%. Mexico (43.2%) and El Salvador (16%) were the most common places of birth for the 46.4% of the residents who were born abroad—a high percentage for Los Angeles. The percentages of never-married men and never-married women were among the county's highest.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program North Hollywood CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare 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 such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Is A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in North Hollywood CA.
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