How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Newport Beach California
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Newport Beach CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might want to research 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 need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools 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 before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Newport Beach CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Newport Beach CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who may 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 earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Newport Beach CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Newport Beach CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type 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 begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Newport Beach CA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Newport Beach CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Newport Beach CA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Newport Beach medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Newport Beach CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Newport Beach CA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Newport Beach California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Newport Beach CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Newport Beach, California
The Upper Bay of Newport is a canyon, which was carved by a stream in the Pleistocene period. The Lower Bay of Newport was formed much later by sand that was brought along by ocean currents, which constructed the offshore beach that is now recognized as the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach.
Before settlers reached the coasts of California, the Newport area and surrounding areas were very prominent Indian lands. Indian shells and relics can still be found today scattered throughout the area. Though, throughout the 1800s, settlers began to settle the area due to the availability of land. The State of California sold acre-plots of land for $1 a piece in the Newport area. Anglo-American inhabitation in the area grew substantially following the events of 1870 when a 105-ton steamer named The Vaquero, captained by Captain Samuel S. Dunnells (against warnings posted by surveyors) safely steered through the lower and upper bay of Newport where it unloaded its cargo. James Irvine, after hearing the astonishing news, quickly traveled from his home in San Francisco to the San Joaquin Ranch. Meeting in Irvine's ranch house near current day UC Irvine with his brother, Robert Irvine, and friend James McFadden, they all agreed that the newly found port should be named simply, "Newport" thus where Newport Beach gets its name.
In 1905, city development increased when Pacific Electric Railway established a southern terminus in Newport connecting the beach with downtown Los Angeles. In 1906 (with a population of 206 citizens), the scattered settlements were incorporated as the City of Newport Beach.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Newport Beach CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide 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 lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Qualifications. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Newport Beach CA.
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