How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Santa Ana California
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Santa Ana CA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Santa Ana CA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Santa Ana CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready 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 in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Santa Ana CA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain 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 choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Santa Ana CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you want 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 procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Santa Ana CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Santa Ana CA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in 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. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Santa Ana CA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Santa Ana healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Santa Ana CA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Santa Ana CA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol 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 Santa Ana California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Santa Ana CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana /ˌsæntə ˈænə/ (Spanish for "Saint Anne") is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2011 population at 329,427, making Santa Ana the 57th most-populous city in the United States.
Santa Ana is located in Southern California, adjacent to the Santa Ana River, about 10 miles (16 km) away from the California coast. Founded in 1869, the city is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second largest metropolitan area in the United States with almost 18 million residents in 2010. Santa Ana is a very densely populated city, ranking fourth nationally in that regard among cities of over 300,000 residents (trailing only New York City, San Francisco, and Boston). In 2011 Forbes ranked Santa Ana the fourth-safest city of over 250,000 residents in the United States.
Santa Ana lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), which runs through the city. It also shares its name with the nearby Santa Ana Mountains, and the Santa Ana winds, which have historically fueled seasonal wildfires throughout Southern California. The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan designation for the Orange County Area is Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine, California.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Santa Ana CA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Are Medical Assistant Courses. But irrespective 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Santa Ana CA.
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