How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near El Monte California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near El Monte CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities 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 diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the El Monte CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many El Monte CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally 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 junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in El Monte CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential El Monte CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to El Monte 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 must look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, 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 acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential El Monte CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with El Monte CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the El Monte healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the El Monte CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near El Monte CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near El Monte California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the El Monte CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
El Monte, California
El Monte /ɛl ˈmɒntiː/ is a residential, industrial, and commercial city in Los Angeles County, California, the United States. The city lies in the San Gabriel Valley east of the city of Los Angeles.
El Monte's slogan is "Welcome to Friendly El Monte" and historically is known as "The End of the Santa Fe Trail." As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 113,475, down from 115,965 at the 2000 census. As of 2010, El Monte was the 51st largest city in California.
El Monte is situated between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers; residents claimed that anything could be grown in the area. Between 1770 and 1830, Spanish soldiers and missionaries often stopped here for respite. They called the area 'El Monte,' which in Spanish means 'the mountain' or 'the mount'. Most people assume the name refers to a mountain, but there were no mountains in the valley. The word is an archaic Spanish translation of that era, meaning "the wood". The first explorers had found this a rich, low-altitude land, blanketed with thick growths of wispy willows, alders, and cattails, located between the two rivers. Wild grapevines and watercress also abounded. El Monte is approximately 7 miles long and 4 miles wide. When the State Legislature organized California into more manageable designated townships in the 1850s, they called it the El Monte Township. In a short time the name returned to the original El Monte.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Course El Monte CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Near Me. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in El Monte CA.
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