How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Thousand Oaks California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Thousand Oaks CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Thousand Oaks CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties 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
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under California law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
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 Thousand Oaks CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work 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, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Thousand Oaks CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Thousand Oaks CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Thousand Oaks CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Thousand Oaks CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Thousand Oaks CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Thousand Oaks health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Thousand Oaks CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience 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 college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thousand Oaks CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Thousand Oaks California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Thousand Oaks CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks is the second-largest city in Ventura County, California, United States. It is in the northwestern part of Greater Los Angeles, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from Downtown Los Angeles and is less than 15 miles (24 km) from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills. It is named after the many oak trees present in the area, and the city seal is adorned with an oak.
The city forms the central populated core of the Conejo Valley. Thousand Oaks was incorporated in 1964, but has since expanded to the west and east. Two-thirds of neighboring Westlake Village and most of Newbury Park were annexed by the city during the late 1960s and 1970s. The Los Angeles County–Ventura County line crosses at the city's eastern border with Westlake Village. The population was estimated to be 129,339 in 2015, rising from 126,683 at the 2010 census. Thousand Oaks is 55 square miles, which, for comparison, is 20 percent larger than San Francisco.
Thousand Oaks was considered in 2002 as one of the safest cities in the U.S. based on consistent FBI reporting. It was ranked the fourth-safest among cities with a population greater than 100,000 in the United States by the FBI's 2013 Uniform Crime Reports.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Thousand Oaks CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as 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 Training. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Thousand Oaks CA.
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