How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Bluffs Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bluffs IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Bluffs IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bluffs IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Bluffs IL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Bluffs IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bluffs IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Bluffs IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Bluffs IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Bluffs medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bluffs IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college 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 broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bluffs IL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bluffs Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bluffs IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lake Bluff, Illinois
Lake Bluff is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. It is located on the North Shore of Lake Michigan, and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. As of 2015, the population was 7,469.
The first settler family to claim land within the area now part of Lake Bluff arrived in 1836. They claimed 100 acres of land extending from the lake west to the Green Bay Trail. In 1849, a few residents left to seek their fortune in the California gold rush. In 1837, William and Mary Dwyer claimed the land just north of the former Central School. They opened and operated a stage coach stop and tavern along the Green Bay Trail. Some of the other early settlers were Henry and Angeline Ostrander, James Cole and William Whitnell.
In 1855, the first railroad through Lake County was completed, running from Chicago through the county line. Henry Ostrander owned the land where the depot was to be placed, and he agreed to donate the site if the depot were called "Rockland." Therefore, this area, known previously as the Dwyer Settlement and Oak Hill, became Rockland, the only stop between Highland Park and Waukegan. Rockland had a post office and general store on Mawman Avenue with a small school and church located west of the tracks near Green Bay Road.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Bluffs IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. 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, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Job Description. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Bluffs IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois