How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Palmdale California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palmdale CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Palmdale CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Education
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Palmdale CA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical 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 training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Palmdale CA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Palmdale CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Palmdale CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Palmdale CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to 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 of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’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 college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select 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 about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Palmdale CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Palmdale health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Palmdale 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 a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Palmdale CA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Palmdale California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palmdale CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
On August 24, 1962, Palmdale became the first community in the Antelope Valley to incorporate. 47 years later, in November 2009, voters approved making it a charter city. Its population was 152,750 at the 2010 census, up from 116,670 at the 2000 census. Palmdale is the 33rd most populous city in California. In 2013, the Palmdale / Lancaster urban area had an estimated population of 513,547.
"Palmenthal", the first European settlement within the limits of Palmdale, was established as a village on April 20, 1886, by westward Lutheran travelers from the American Midwest, mostly of German and Swiss descent. According to area folklore, the travelers had been told they would know they were close to the ocean when they saw palm trees. Never actually having seen palm trees before, they mistook the local Joshua trees for palms and so named their settlement after them. (Palmenthal is German for Palm Valley.) According to David L. Durham Joshua trees were sometimes called yucca palms at the time, which was the reason for the name. The village was officially established upon the arrival of a post office on June 17, 1888.
By the 1890s (soon after the last of the indigenous antelopes, which the valley was named after, had died) farming families continued to migrate to Palmenthal and nearby Harold to grow grain and fruit. However, most of these settlers were unfamiliar with farming in a desert climate, so when the drought years occurred, most abandoned their settlement. By 1899, only one family was left in the original village. The rest of the settlers, including the post office, moved closer to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. This new community was renamed Palmdale and was located where the present day civic center is. A railroad station was built along the tracks there. This railroad was operated by Southern Pacific and traveled between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Wells Fargo stagecoach line that ran between San Francisco and New Orleans stopped there as well. The only remaining pieces of evidence of the original settlements of Palmenthal and Harold are the old Palmdale Pioneer cemetery located on the northeast corner of Avenue S and 20th Street East, recently acquired and restored by the city as part of a future historical park, and the old schoolhouse now relocated to McAdam Park.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Palmdale CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Registered Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Palmdale CA.
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