How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Paramount California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Paramount CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out 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 issues as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Paramount CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Paramount CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Paramount CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Paramount CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Paramount CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you select 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 must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Paramount CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Paramount CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Paramount healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Paramount CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Paramount CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all 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 Paramount California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Paramount CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Paramount is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. According to the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 54,098, down from 55,266 at the 2000 census. Paramount is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area; and is bordered by Compton and Lynwood to the west, South Gate and Downey to the north, Bellflower to the east and south, and Long Beach to the south.
The city today known as Paramount was originally identified in 1781 by Mexican settlers of New Spain. It was organized under two old Spanish Ranchos; on the west, Rancho San Pedro, and on the east, Rancho Los Nietos (now portions of the cities of Santa Fe Springs and Whittier). These ranchos were established under the Spanish Empire and granted by King Carlos III in 1784. In 1834, Rancho Los Nietos was partitioned into five smaller ranchos including Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos, which both encompassed parts of Paramount.
After the Mexican–American War California was ceded to the United States. The then-unincorporated community of Paramount was created in 1948 when the United States Postmaster General ordered the merger of the post offices of Hynes and Clearwater (Pitt 1997:381). The name was taken from Paramount Boulevard, the main north-to-south surface street extending through the city. The city officially incorporated January 30, 1957 following a successful "Save Paramount for Paramount" campaign to fight annexation by Long Beach, Bellflower, and South Gate.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant College Paramount CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Accreditation. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can 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 Paramount CA.
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