Home > Blog > What to Look for in an Online Medical Assistant Program in California
by SJVC on December 21, 2016 · 9:00 am
Do you want to prepare for an exciting job in health care but don’t have the time to go back to school? You can now train to become a medical assistant online, which means you can flexibly train for a new career while still having your busy life at work and at home. But with so many online medical assistant programs to choose from, how do you know which one is the best?
As with many things in life, shopping around is the best way to find an online medical assistant program that meets your needs and will best prepare you to work in the field. While you research different online medical assistant programs in California, here are some important things to keep in mind and ask about.
One of the most important things to look for in any medical assistant program is endorsement by a recognized accrediting body. Accreditation recognizes institutions of higher learning that meet or exceed standards of quality, competency and credibility in education. Some employers prefer to hire medical assistants who graduate from accredited institutions, and accreditation gives students a better chance of being able to transfer credits in the future.
Questions to ask:
Not all medical assistant programs are the same, and not all programs will prepare you to do the same job. Other important factors to consider when researching online medical assistant programs are the learning outcomes. In other words, what will you learn to do? Medical assisting can be a combination of clinical and administrative duties, so it’s important that you know the specific topics you’ll study and what specific skills you’ll learn. You should also know whether the online program awards a certificate of completion or an associate’s degree.
Compared to some other entry-level health care jobs, medical assisting is one of the fastest to get in to. Still, some online programs take longer than others to complete. If your goal is to train for a new career fast, it’s important that you understand how long it will take to finish before you sign up for an online medical assistant program. The time required to finish can also depend on the type of program (certificate or associate’s degree) and the number of classes you take at one time.
Although medical assistants are not required to be certified, there are a lot of very good reasons to become certified. For example, certified medical assistants have better career prospects than non-certified MAs since certification is required to teach others. Some employers also prefer to hire certified medical assistants over their non-certified peers. If you want to give yourself a competitive advantage after you graduate and start looking for work, make sure the certificate or associate’s degree you earn makes you eligible to sit for a medical assistant certification exam.
Online medical assistant programs offer busy students the flexibility and convenience they need to earn a certificate or associate’s degree without putting their lives on hold, but the ability to attend a brick-and-mortar campus for additional hands-on training or face-to-face conversations with advisors and teachers can be extremely beneficial. It shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker if an institution only exists online, but it’s definitely a big advantage if the school offering the medical assistant program has ground campus locations in your area.
If you’re interested in training to become a medical assistant, San Joaquin Valley College offers a 7-month online Certificate-level Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program as well as a 14-month online Clinical and Administrative Medical Assistant (CAMA) program that rewards graduates with an Associate of Science degree. Request more information or call toll-free 866-544-7898 to learn more.
Medical assisting is an exciting and rewarding entry-level healthcare career. To help you decide if this is the right path for you, SJVC created a free guide outlining the roles and responsibilities of a medical assistant. Download your guide to learn what medical assistants do, why they are in demand, and how you can become one.
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Posted in Medical Assisting / Online Division / Online Program