How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Hermosa Beach California
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hermosa Beach CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Hermosa Beach CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. 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 providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Hermosa Beach CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Hermosa Beach CA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Hermosa Beach CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Hermosa Beach CA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Hermosa Beach CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Hermosa Beach CA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Hermosa Beach healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Hermosa Beach CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive 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 possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school 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 to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hermosa Beach CA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hermosa Beach California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hermosa Beach CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hermosa Beach, California
The city is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area and is one of the three Beach Cities. Hermosa Beach is bordered by the other two, Manhattan Beach to the north and Redondo Beach to the south and east.
The city's beach is popular for sunbathing, beach volleyball, surfing, paddleboarding and bars. The city itself extends only about 15 blocks from east to west and 40 blocks from north to south, with the Pacific Coast Highway running down the middle. Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Hermosa's average temperature is 70 °F (22 °C) in the summer and 55 °F (13 °C) in the winter. Westerly sea breezes lessen what can be high summertime temperatures in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the county and help keep the smog away 360 days of the year.
A paved path, called The Strand, runs along Hermosa's beach from Torrance Beach in the south approximately twenty miles north to Santa Monica. The Hermosa Beach pier is at the end of Pier Avenue, which is one of the beach community's main shopping, eating and partying areas.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Hermosa Beach CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering 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 certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Does A Medical Assistant Do. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget 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 Hermosa Beach CA.
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