How to Select a Medical Assistant School near South Gate California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near South Gate CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the South Gate CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers 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 facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many South Gate CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in South Gate CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible South Gate CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to South Gate CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that process, following 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 Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in 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 need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential South Gate CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with South Gate CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the South Gate health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the South Gate CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare 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 individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near South Gate CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near South Gate California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the South Gate CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
South Gate, California
South Gate is the 17th largest city in Los Angeles County, California, with 7.4 square miles (19 km2). South Gate is located 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. It is part of the Gateway Cities region of southeastern Los Angeles County.
While Francisco Lugo was stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, his first California son, Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1775. That son became Don Antonio Maria Lugo, Spanish aristocrat and soldier, who settled on 30,000 acres (120 km2) of land that encompasses what is now the City of South Gate. In 1810, the King of Spain formally granted the land to Lugo as a reward for his and his father's military service. Rancho San Antonio extended from the low range of hills which separated it from the San Gabriel Valley to the old Dominguez Ranch at its south, and from the eastern boundary of the pueblo of Los Angeles to the San Gabriel River. Lugo also became the mayor of Los Angeles, from 1816 to 1819,
A little more than 100 years after the establishment of the Lugo Land Grant, the area at the south gate of the ranch became the City of South Gate. As Don Lugo's family grew, he obtained San Bernardino Rancho and other grants in his children's names.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program South Gate CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Years Of School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in South Gate CA.
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