Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree Santa Clarita CA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Santa Clarita California

Santa Clarita CA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Santa Clarita 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 ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.

The Role of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Santa Clarita CA nursing home patientThe job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Santa Clarita CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing 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. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Courses

In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Santa Clarita CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Santa Clarita CAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Santa Clarita CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Santa Clarita CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Santa Clarita CA medical assistant programsPrior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Santa Clarita CA with the most affordable 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 explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm 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. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Santa Clarita CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on 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 methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Santa Clarita CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Santa Clarita medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Santa Clarita CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Santa Clarita CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Santa Clarita California?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Santa Clarita CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Santa Clarita, California

Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California, and the 24th largest in the state of California.[6] The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live.[9]

Santa Clarita was incorporated in December 1987 as the union of four unincorporated communities, Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia, most of which are situated on the land of the former Rancho San Francisco.[10] The four communities retain separate identities, and it is common for residents to refer to a specific neighborhood when asked where they are from. Santa Clarita is bounded on the west by the Golden State Freeway (I-5). The Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) runs northeast-southwest through an irregular east border, and the Newhall Pass is the city's southernmost point.

The Santa Clara River was named by Spanish explorers for Clare of Assisi. The valley and the settlement later became known as "little Santa Clara" in deference to the Northern California mission and city of Santa Clara, California. In time, "little Santa Clara" became "Santa Clarita."[11]

Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant College Santa Clarita CA

Santa Clarita CA medical assistant studentIt’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure 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 ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Santa Clarita CA.

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