How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Burbank California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burbank CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 as well. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Burbank CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Burbank CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Burbank CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Burbank CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Burbank CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Burbank CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get 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 get a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Burbank CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Burbank medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Burbank 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 a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout 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 practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Burbank CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Burbank California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Burbank CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California, United States, 12 miles (19 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The population at the 2010 census was 103,340.
Billed as the "Media Capital of the World" and only a few miles northeast of Hollywood, numerous media and entertainment companies are headquartered or have significant production facilities in Burbank, including Warner Bros. Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, The Burbank Studios, Cartoon Network Studios with the West Coast branch of Cartoon Network, and Insomniac Games. The Hollywood Burbank Airport was the location of Lockheed's Skunk Works, which produced some of the most secret and technologically advanced airplanes, including the U-2 spy planes that uncovered the Soviet Union missile components in Cuba in October 1962.
Burbank consists of two distinct areas: a downtown/foothill section, in the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains, and the flatland section. The city was referred to as "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The city was named after David Burbank, a New Hampshire–born dentist and entrepreneur who established a sheep ranch there in 1867.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Burbank CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right 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 need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in CMA Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can 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 Burbank CA.
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