How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Costa Mesa California
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Costa Mesa CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Costa Mesa CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Costa Mesa CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice 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 alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Costa Mesa CA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Costa Mesa CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps 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 be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Costa Mesa CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Costa Mesa CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially 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, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Costa Mesa CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Costa Mesa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Costa Mesa CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Costa Mesa CA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Costa Mesa California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Costa Mesa CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a primarily suburban and edge city with an economy based on retail, commerce, and light manufacturing. The population was 109,960 at the 2010 United States Census.
Members of the Gabrieleño/Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Junípero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the communities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Costa Mesa CA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Do Medical Assistants Do. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Costa Mesa CA.
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