How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Northridge California
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Northridge CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal 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 lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Northridge CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers 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 practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Northridge CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Northridge CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea 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. Many possible Northridge CA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Northridge CA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Northridge CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Northridge CA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Northridge healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Northridge CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Northridge CA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Northridge California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Northridge CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Northridge, Los Angeles
Originally named Zelzah, the community was renamed North Los Angeles in 1929 to emphasize its closeness to the booming city. This created confusion with Los Angeles and North Hollywood. At the suggestion of a civic leader, the community was renamed Northridge in 1938. Northridge can trace its history back to the Gabrielino (or Tongva) people and to Spanish explorers. Its territory was later sold by the Mexican governor to Eulogio de Celis, whose heirs divided it for sale.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 57,561 residents in the 9.47-square-mile (24.5 km2) Northridge neighborhood—or 6,080 people per square mile (2,350/km2), among the lowest population densities for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 61,993. In 2000 the median age for residents was 32, about average for city and county neighborhoods; the percentage of residents aged 19 to 34 was among the county's highest. 
The neighborhood was considered "highly diverse" ethnically within Los Angeles, with a high percentage of Asian people. The breakdown was whites, 49.5%; Latinos, 26.1%; Asians, 14.5%; blacks, 5.4%; and others, 4.6%. Mexico (24.7%) and the Philippines (9.8%) were the most common places of birth for the 31.8% of the residents who were born abroad—an average figure for Los Angeles.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course Northridge CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. 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 discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Programs Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Northridge CA.
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