How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Sherman Oaks California
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sherman Oaks CA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Sherman Oaks CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions 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 physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Sherman Oaks CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade 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 classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Sherman Oaks CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Sherman Oaks CA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Sherman Oaks CA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Sherman Oaks CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Sherman Oaks CA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Sherman Oaks healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Sherman Oaks CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working 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 Sherman Oaks CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Sherman Oaks California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Sherman Oaks CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles
Sherman Oaks is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California, founded in 1927 with boundary changes afterward. The neighborhood includes a portion of the Santa Monica Mountains, which gives Sherman Oaks a lower population density than some other areas in Los Angeles.
A partner of the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company, Gen. Moses Hazeltine Sherman, developed Sherman Oaks. The company had subdivided 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land that would become Sherman Oaks. In 1927 each acre was sold for $780. Sherman's other major venture was the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad.
In 1991, a group of homeowners living in the Chandler Estates area successfully petitioned former Los Angeles City Councilmember Zev Yaroslavsky to re-draw the boundaries of Sherman Oaks from Magnolia to Burbank Blvd to the north, and from Coldwater Canyon to Van Nuys Blvd to the west, with the goal of including their neighborhood. This request was not anything new to the San Fernando Valley; other neighborhoods had either sought to change their names, or sought to attach themselves onto more affluent neighborhoods to escape from what they saw as growing urban blight and the collapse of their social status. Residents in the area argued, however, that the area was originally part of Sherman Oaks, but was labeled Van Nuys instead through the creation of ZIP codes in 1962; some residents were able to produce a few property deeds to present their case.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Sherman Oaks 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 begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Short Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Sherman Oaks CA.
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