How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Benton Illinois
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Benton IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Benton IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose 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 Training Courses
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Benton IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Benton IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Benton IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Benton IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Benton IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Benton IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Benton healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Benton IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Benton IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Benton Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Benton IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Benton, the county seat of Franklin County, took its name from the prominent senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858). The village of Benton was organized in 1841 on 20 acres (81,000 m2) of property donated by John Ewing and Walter S. Akin. In 1902 the village became a city, and incorporated under the mayor/commissioner form of government.
Franklin County was platted in 1818, the year Illinois became a state, at twice its current size. It included the territory that is now Williamson County. In 1839 the county was split roughly in half and the county seat was permanently fixed "at a hill at the south end of Rowling's Prairie", the site of the future city of Benton.
The Franklin County Courthouse sits in the center of the Public Square. It is the third courthouse that has served the people of Franklin County. The Italianate building was constructed in 1874-75 at a cost of $27,500.00
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course Benton IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Overview. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Benton IL.
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