How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Fountain Valley California
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fountain Valley CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Fountain Valley CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Fountain Valley CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Fountain Valley CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Fountain Valley CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate 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.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Fountain Valley CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Fountain Valley 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 schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Fountain Valley CA area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Fountain Valley healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Fountain Valley CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication 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 provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Valley CA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy 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 Fountain Valley California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fountain Valley CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fountain Valley, California
The area encompassing Fountain Valley was originally inhabited by the Tongva people. European settlement of the area began when Manuel Nieto was granted the land for Rancho Los Nietos, which encompassed over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), including present-day Fountain Valley. Control of the land was subsequently transferred to Mexico upon independence from Spain, and then to the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The city was incorporated in 1957, before which it was known as Talbert (also as Gospel Swamps by residents). The name of Fountain Valley refers to the very high water table in the area at the time the name was chosen, and the many corresponding artesian wells in the area. Early settlers constructed drainage canals to make the land usable for agriculture, which remained the dominant use of land until the 1960s, when construction of large housing tracts accelerated. The first mayor of Fountain Valley was James Kanno, who with this appointment became the first Japanese-American mayor of a mainland United States city.
After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, there was a large influx of Vietnamese refugees settling in Fountain Valley, especially in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, forming a large percentage of Asian Americans in the city.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Fountain Valley CA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as 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 Class Requirements. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure 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 begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Fountain Valley CA.
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