How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Orange California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Orange CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 also. You might decide to research a few 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 examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Orange CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain 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
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Orange CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Orange CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Orange CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Orange CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you choose 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 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Orange CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop 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 instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Orange CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Orange medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Orange 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 an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large 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 furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Orange CA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Orange California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Orange CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Orange is a city located in Orange County, California. It is approximately 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) north of the county seat, Santa Ana. Orange is unusual in this region because many of the homes in its Old Town District were built prior to 1920. While many other cities in the region demolished such houses in the 1960s, Orange decided to preserve them. The small city of Villa Park is surrounded by the city of Orange. The population was 139,812 as of 2014.
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño ethnic group long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, an expedition out of San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, led by Father Junípero Serra, named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to José Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today. Smaller ranchos evolved from this large rancho, including the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Orange CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering 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, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Orange CA.
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