How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Temple City California
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Temple City CA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Temple City CA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While Temple City CA medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under California law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Temple City CA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving 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.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Temple City CA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent 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 a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in local California health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Temple City CA is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Temple City CA or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when researching California schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Temple City CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Temple City CA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths 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, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Temple City CA area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many California medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Temple City CA healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Temple City CA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Temple City CA area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just 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 essential that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Temple City CA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant College in Temple City CA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Temple City CA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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