How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Santa Monica California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Santa Monica CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to research a few 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 finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools 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 before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Santa Monica CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Santa Monica CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred 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 too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Santa Monica CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Santa Monica CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Santa Monica CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant 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 task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Santa Monica CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Santa Monica CA area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Santa Monica healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Santa Monica CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates 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 Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Santa Monica CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Santa Monica California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Santa Monica CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles – Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The Census Bureau population for Santa Monica in 2010 was 89,736.
Due in part to an agreeable climate, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth and increased tourism. The Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park remain popular destinations.
Santa Monica was long inhabited by the Tongva people. Santa Monica was called Kecheek in the Tongva language. The first non-indigenous group to set foot in the area was the party of explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who camped near the present-day intersection of Barrington and Ohio Avenues on August 3, 1769. Named after the Christian saint Monica, there are two different accounts of how the city's name came to be. One says it was named in honor of the feast day of Saint Monica (mother of Saint Augustine), but her feast day is May 4. Another version says it was named by Juan Crespí on account of a pair of springs, the Kuruvungna Springs (Serra Springs), that were reminiscent of the tears Saint Monica shed over her son's early impiety.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Santa Monica CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info 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 covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Best School For Medical Assistant. 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Santa Monica CA.
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