How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Panorama City California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Panorama City CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean 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 decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Panorama City CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Panorama City CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Panorama City CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Panorama City CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably 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, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Panorama City CA with the most affordable 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 evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee 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 acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Panorama City CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Panorama City CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Panorama City medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Panorama City CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Panorama City CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out 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 Panorama City California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Panorama City CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Panorama City, Los Angeles
Panorama City is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California, in the San Fernando Valley. It has a generally young age range as well as the highest population density in the Valley. Ethnically, more than half the population was born abroad, a higher percentage than Los Angeles as a whole. Known as the valley's first planned community following a transition from agriculture to a post-World War II housing boom, it has produced several notable residents. Today it is a mixture of single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. Panorama City has three high schools, two recreational centers, a senior center, two hospitals and a chamber of commerce.
Panorama City is known as the San Fernando Valley's first planned community. In 1948, it was developed as such by residential developer Fritz B. Burns and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Burns, seeing the tremendous potential fortune that could be made as large numbers of World War II veterans came home and started families, teamed up with Kaiser in 1945 to form Kaiser Community Homes. The vast majority of the houses were bought with loans issued by the FHA or the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the G.I. Bill. Homes in the area were sold with racially discriminatory covenants. A "Conditions, Covenants, Restrictions" document filed with the county recorder declared that no Panorama City lot could be "used or occupied by any person whose blood is not entirely that of the white or Caucasian race." Such restrictive covenants, which sometimes also limited ownership to people "of the Christian faith", were common in many communities at the time, and although rendered legally unenforceable by the Civil Rights Act of 1968 they may still be found on some older property deeds. De facto integration was accelerated by the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The CRA-insured credit was provided to the entire community without regard to race or income, causing white flight as with many other areas of the San Fernando Valley. During the period of desegregation busing, Panorama City was exempted due to its diversity.
In its history, Panorama City was once adjacent to General Motors' largest assembly plant to date. Today, the Van Nuys Assembly plant has been replaced with a large shopping center named The Plant, which includes stores and restaurants such as Regency Theatres, Ross, Babies "R" Us, The Home Depot, Hometown Buffet, Blaze Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, Starbucks Coffee and others.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Panorama City CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire 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 selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged 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 Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Panorama City CA.
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