How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Cerritos California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cerritos CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Cerritos CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Cerritos CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 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 typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical 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 Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Cerritos CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Cerritos CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Cerritos CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program 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 plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Cerritos CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Cerritos CA area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Cerritos healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Cerritos CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high 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 may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cerritos CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Cerritos California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cerritos CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cerritos (Spanish for little hills), formerly named Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area, is an affluent suburban city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,041. It is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area designated by the Office of Management and Budget.
Cerritos was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva (or "People of the Earth"). Later, the Tongva would be renamed the "Gabrieleños" by the Spanish settlers after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Gabrieleños were the largest group of Southern California Indians as well as the most developed in the region. The Gabrieleños lived off the land, deriving food from the animals or plants that could be gathered, snared or hunted, and grinding acorns as a staple.
Beginning in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the New World and worked their way to the California coast in 1542. The colonization process included "civilizing" the native populations in California by means of establishing various missions. Soon afterwards, a town called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (Los Angeles today) would be founded and prosper with the aid of subjects from New Spain and Native American labor.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Cerritos CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 3 Month Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Cerritos CA.
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