How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Artesia California
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Artesia CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Artesia CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Artesia CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest 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 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those 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 working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Artesia CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Artesia CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Artesia CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Artesia CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Artesia CA area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Artesia health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Artesia CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Artesia CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Artesia California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Artesia CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Artesia is a city in southeast Los Angeles County, California. Artesia was incorporated on May 29, 1959 and is one of Los Angeles County's Gateway Cities. The city has a 2010 census population of 16,522. Artesia is surrounded on the west, south, and east sides by Cerritos, with Norwalk to the north. Artesia is the home of the East West Ice Palace, an ice rink which is co-owned by Michelle Kwan. It was also the childhood home of former First Lady Pat Nixon, who lived there from 1914 to 1931, though the property on which she grew up is now part of neighboring Cerritos.
The village of Artesia was established upon the completion of the Artesia School District on May 3, 1875. It was named for the many flowing artesian wells in the area, which made the village ideal for farming and agriculture.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Dutch and Portuguese farmers developed Artesia into one of the most important dairy districts in Southern California. After World War II, as with many other cities in the region, Artesia was pressured by developers to build residential tracts. The city of Dairy Valley was incorporated in 1956, and later became the city of Cerritos. As the demand for housing continued, dairymen moved their operations further east into Chino and north into the Central Valley. Artesia finally incorporated on May 29, 1959.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Artesia CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Associate Degree. But regardless of the type 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Artesia CA.
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