How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Rancho Palos Verdes California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Rancho Palos Verdes CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Rancho Palos Verdes CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect 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 Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Rancho Palos Verdes CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade 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 often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly 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 conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Rancho Palos Verdes CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Rancho Palos Verdes CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process 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 nearest to Rancho Palos Verdes CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Rancho Palos Verdes CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Rancho Palos Verdes CA area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Rancho Palos Verdes healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Rancho Palos Verdes CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Rancho Palos Verdes CA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Rancho Palos Verdes California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Rancho Palos Verdes CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Rancho Palos Verdes (also known by the abbreviation RPV) is a city in Los Angeles County, California atop the Palos Verdes Hills and bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. An affluent suburb of Los Angeles, it is known for large tracts of open space and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Rancho Palos Verdes is translated as "Ranch of Green Sticks", probably referring to the willows in the northeastern part of Bixby Slough (now known as Machado Lake) shown on earlier maps.
The history of Rancho Palos Verdes dates back to the Tongva or Gabrielino Indians, who inhabited the site before the Age of Discovery. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was credited as the first European to navigate the California Coast in 1542, which included the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes. Rancho de los Palos Verdes was established by a Mexican land grant given in 1846 by Governor Pio Pico to Jose Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda.
The city's most notable geographic features are the Palos Verdes Hills and cliffs, with grand vistas of the Pacific Ocean and of Santa Catalina Island. The city incorporated on September 7, 1973. The population was 41,643 at the 2010 census.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Rancho Palos Verdes CA
It’s important to start 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 health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example 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 Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Rancho Palos Verdes CA.
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