How To Become A Medical Assistant Torrance CA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Torrance California

Torrance CA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Torrance CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all 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 type of credentials and training that are offered.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Torrance CA nursing home patientThe job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Torrance CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs

Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Torrance CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Classes

woman attending medical assistant school online in Torrance CAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work 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 added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Torrance CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Torrance CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Torrance CA medical assistant programsPrior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Torrance CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you select 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 intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Torrance CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Torrance CA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Torrance health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Torrance CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may 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 convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Torrance CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out 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 Torrance California?

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

Torrance, California

Torrance is a U.S. city in the South Bay (southwestern) region of Los Angeles County, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Torrance has 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Torrance has a moderate year-round climate with warm temperatures, sea breezes, low humidity, and an average rainfall of 12.55 inches per year.[8]

Since its incorporation in 1921, Torrance has grown to a 2013 estimated population of 147,000.[6] This residential and light high-tech industries city has 90,000 street trees and 30 city parks.[8] Known for its low crime rates, the city consistently ranks among the safest cities in Los Angeles County.[9] Torrance is the birthplace of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). In addition, Torrance has the second-highest percentage of residents of Japanese ancestry in California (8.9%).[10]

Torrance was originally part of the Tongva Native American homeland for thousands of years. In 1784 the Spanish land grant for Rancho San Pedro, in the upper Las Californias Province of New Spain and encompassing present day Torrance, was issued to Juan Jose Dominguez by King Carlos III – the Spanish Empire.[11][12] It was later divided in 1846 with Governor Pío Pico granting Rancho de los Palos Verdes to José Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda, in the Alta California territory of independent Mexico.[13][14]

Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Torrance CA

Torrance CA medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right 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 lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Torrance CA.

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