How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Stevenson Ranch California
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Stevenson Ranch CA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Stevenson Ranch CA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health 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:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some choose to specialize in a specific 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 professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Stevenson Ranch CA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Stevenson Ranch CA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Stevenson Ranch CA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Stevenson Ranch CA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Stevenson Ranch CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Stevenson Ranch CA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Stevenson Ranch health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Stevenson Ranch CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high 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 wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Stevenson Ranch CA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Stevenson Ranch California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Stevenson Ranch CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Stevenson Ranch, California
Stevenson Ranch is a census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California. The community is located in the Santa Clarita Valley. Often incorrectly referred to as part of the city of Santa Clarita, the community does not actually fall within the city limits and is instead in an unincorporated area. It has many new suburban one- and two-story houses in new developments, with a median value of $1,034,600. Stevenson Ranch encompasses about 6.4 square miles (17 km2). About 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) are set aside as parks, recreation areas, and open space. Stevenson Ranch is set in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains and lies west of Interstate 5. One of the newer communities in the Santa Clarita Valley, which was ranked number 18 of the top 100 places to live by Money Magazine in 2006, This area backs up to the historic, oil-mining town of Mentryville, founded in 1875. A master-planned community, it was approved by the county in 1987. The population was 17,557 at the time of the 2010 census.
It is home to the award winning California Distinguished and National Blue Ribbon Schools Stevenson Ranch Elementary, Pico Canyon Elementary, Rancho Pico Junior High, and West Ranch High School, The Valencia Marketplace and Stevenson Ranch Shopping Center are popular shopping areas in the community. Six Flags Magic Mountain, an amusement park, is located about three miles north of the community.
It is also the filming location of several film and television productions, including the television show Weeds, a Showtime original series, as well as the feature film Pleasantville. Its master-planned nature is at the heart of the suburban commentary of Weeds, such as the "Little Boxes" song and sprawling development portrayed in the opening of the show.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Stevenson Ranch CA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long To Get Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Stevenson Ranch CA.
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