How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Blue Island Illinois
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Blue Island IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. 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 aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each 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 Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Blue Island IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Blue Island IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Blue Island IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Blue Island IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded 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 have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Blue Island IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Blue Island IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out 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 of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask 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 assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Blue Island IL area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Blue Island health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Blue Island IL 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Blue Island IL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Blue Island Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Blue Island IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Blue Island, Illinois
Blue Island is a city in Cook County, Illinois, located approximately 16 miles (26 km) south of Chicago's Loop. Blue Island is adjacent to the city of Chicago and shares its northern boundary with that city's Morgan Park neighborhood. The population was 23,706 at the 2010 United States Census.
Blue Island was established in the 1830s as a way station for settlers traveling on the Vincennes Trace, and the settlement prospered because it was conveniently situated a day's journey outside of Chicago. The late-nineteenth-century historian and publisher Alfred T. Andreas made the following observation regarding the appearance of the young community in History of Cook County Illinois (1884), "The location of Blue Island Village is a beautiful one. Nowhere about Chicago is there to be found a more pleasant and desirable resident locality."
Since its founding, the city has been an important commercial center in the south Cook County region, although its position in that respect has been eclipsed in recent years as other significant population centers developed around it and the region's commercial resources became spread over a wider area. In addition to its broad long-standing industrial base, the city enjoyed notable growth in the 1840s during the construction of the feeder canal (now the Calumet Sag Channel) for the Illinois and Michigan Canal and as the center of a large brick-making industry beginning in the 1850s, which eventually gave Blue Island the status of brick-making capitol of the world. Beginning in 1883, Blue Island was also host to the car shops of the Rock Island Railroad. Blue Island was home to several breweries, who used the east side of the hill to store their product before the advent of refrigeration, until the Eighteenth Amendment made these breweries illegal in 1919. A large regional hospital and two major clinics are also located in the city.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Blue Island IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, 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 What Is A Medical Assistant. 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 right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Blue Island IL.
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