How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Lakewood California
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lakewood CA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all 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 Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Lakewood CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lakewood CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical 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 training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Lakewood CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses 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 an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Lakewood CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing 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 Lakewood CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lakewood CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Lakewood CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Lakewood healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Lakewood CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lakewood CA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lakewood California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lakewood CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.
Lakewood is a post-World War II planned community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program Lakewood CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lakewood CA.
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