How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Altadena California
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Altadena CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Altadena CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may 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 professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific 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 Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Altadena CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Altadena CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Altadena CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Altadena CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, 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 often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Altadena CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Altadena CA area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Altadena health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Altadena CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may 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 prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Altadena California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Altadena CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately 14 miles (23 km) from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California. The population was 42,777 at the 2010 census, up from 42,610 at the 2000 census.
In the mid-1860s, Benjamin Eaton first developed water sources from the Arroyo Seco and Eaton Canyon to irrigate his vineyard near the edge of Eaton Canyon. This made possible the development of Altadena, Pasadena, and South Pasadena. He did the construction for B. D. Wilson and Dr. John Griffin, who jointly owned the Mexican land grant of Rancho San Pascual, about 14,000 acres (57 km2), that was the future sites of these three communities. They hoped to develop and sell this land in a real estate plan called the San Pasqual Plantation. Their efforts failed by 1870, despite Eaton's irrigation ditch that drew water from the site of present-day Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Arroyo Seco. They had failed because the land was relatively inaccessible and few believed crops could thrive that close to the mountains.
Eaton tried to sell the land for the partners, and in late 1873 he helped broker a deal with Daniel Berry, who represented a group of investors from Indiana, to buy 4,000 acres (16 km2) of the rancho. This included the land of present-day Altadena, but they developed a 2,500 acres (10 km2) section further south as Pasadena. In 1881, the land that would later become Altadena was sold to John and Fred Woodbury, brothers who launched the subdivision of Altadena in 1887. The land remained primarily agricultural, though several eastern millionaires built mansions along Mariposa Street, and a small community developed through the 1890s and into the next century.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Altadena CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Altadena CA.
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