How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Van Nuys California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Van Nuys CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative 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 pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting 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 Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Van Nuys CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Van Nuys CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Van Nuys CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Van Nuys CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Van Nuys CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Van Nuys CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’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 basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Van Nuys CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Van Nuys medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Van Nuys CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Van Nuys CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Van Nuys California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Van Nuys CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Van Nuys /vænˈnaɪz/ is a neighborhood in the central San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. Home to Van Nuys Airport and the Valley Municipal Building, it is the only neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley with a population of more than 100,000.
In 1909 the Suburban Homes Company, a syndicate led by H. J. Whitley, general manager of the Board of Control, along with Harry Chandler, H. G. Otis, M. H. Sherman and O. F. Brandt purchased 48,000 acres of the Farming and Milling Company for $2,500,000. Henry E. Huntington, extended his Pacific Electric Railway (Red Cars) through the Valley to Owensmouth (now Canoga Park). The Suburban Home Company laid out plans for roads and the towns of Van Nuys, Reseda (Marian) and Canoga Park (Owensmouth). The rural areas were annexed into the city of Los Angeles in 1915.On April 2, 1915 H. J. Whitley purchased the Suburban Home Company so that he would have complete control for finishing the development. 
The town was founded in 1911 and named for Isaac Newton Van Nuys, one of its developers. It was annexed by Los Angeles on May 22, 1915, after completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, providing it with the water required for further growth. Van Nuys was the first new stop on the San Fernando Line of the Pacific Electric Railway red cars system, which boosted its early land sales and commercial success.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Van Nuys CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice 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 schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Externship. But regardless of the kind 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Van Nuys CA.
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