How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Mission Hills California
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mission Hills CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 factors also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Mission Hills CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Mission Hills CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to go to 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 extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Mission Hills CA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options 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 getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Mission Hills CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Mission Hills CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Mission Hills CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? 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 programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose 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 one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Mission Hills CA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Mission Hills healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Mission Hills CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor 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 Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mission Hills 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 also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask 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 Mission Hills California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Mission Hills CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Mission Hills, Los Angeles
It is near the northern junction of the Golden State Freeway (I-5) and the San Diego Freeway (I-405). The Ronald Reagan Freeway (SR-118) halves the community. Mission Hills is at the northern end of the long Sepulveda Boulevard. Other main thoroughfares are San Fernando Mission Boulevard, Woodman Avenue, and Rinaldi, Brand, Chatsworth, Devonshire, and Lassen Streets. The boundaries are roughly Sepulveda Blvd and Interstate 405 to the west, Interstate 5 to the north and east, Van Nuys Boulevard to the southeast, and Lassen Street to the south. The Granada Hills community lies to the west, Sylmar to the north, the city of San Fernando to the northeast, Pacoima to the east, Arleta to the southeast, and Panorama City to the south.
The community is named for the nearby Spanish Mission San Fernando Rey de España (1784). It includes the Andrés Pico Adobe, the second oldest residence still standing in Los Angeles. The San Fernando Mission Cemetery, located a short distance away, is one of the oldest active cemeteries within the San Fernando Valley.
Residents are zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mission Hills has one private school within its boundaries; Bishop Alemany High School which is run by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Mission Hills CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. 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 covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Online Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Mission Hills CA.
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