How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near West Hills California
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Hills CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the West Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific 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
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many West Hills 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 basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in West Hills CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible West Hills CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to West Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential West Hills CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at 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 focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with West Hills CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the West Hills medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the West Hills CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Hills CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently 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 policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Hills California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Hills CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Hills, Los Angeles
West Hills is a residential and commercial neighborhood in the western San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. The percentage of residents aged 35 and older is among the highest in Los Angeles County.
The neighborhood was formerly the home of many Native American tribes, and during the early Spanish and Mexican era was part of the Mission San Fernando Rey de España. In the American era, West Hills was part of Owensmouth, which was renamed Canoga Park in 1930. West Hills was established in western Canoga Park and retained its present name in 1987.
Historic landmarks and many city parks are to be found within the community, as are commercial districts, a business district, and religious establishments. Two private high schools are among the 13 schools within West Hills.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College West Hills CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in West Hills CA.
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