How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Pomona California
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pomona CA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right 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 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Pomona CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Pomona CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have 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 additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Pomona CA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Pomona CA medical employers just will not employ 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose 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 selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Pomona CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted organizations 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Pomona CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused 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 just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Pomona CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Pomona medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Pomona CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator 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 furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
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 select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pomona CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pomona California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pomona CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pomona (/pəˈmoʊnə/) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Pomona is located in the Pomona Valley, between the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 149,058.
The city is named for Pomona, the ancient Roman goddess of fruit. For horticulturist Solomon Gates, "Pomona" was the winning entry in a contest to name the city in 1875, before anyone had ever planted a fruit tree. The city was first settled by Ricardo Vejar and Ygnacio Palomares in the 1830s, when California and much of the now-American Southwest were part of Mexico. The first Anglo-Americans arrived in prior to 1848 when the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo resulted in California becoming part of the United States. By the 1880s, the arrival of railroads and Coachella Valley water had made it the western anchor of the citrus-growing region. Pomona was officially incorporated on January 6, 1888.
In the 1920s Pomona was known as the "Queen of the Citrus Belt", with one of the highest per-capita levels of income in the United States. In the 1940s it was used as a movie-previewing location for major motion picture studios to see how their films would play to modally middle-class audiences around the country (for which Pomona was at that time viewed as an idealized example).
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Pomona CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Medical Assistant. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Pomona CA.
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