How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Bradley Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bradley IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Bradley IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Bradley IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Bradley IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Bradley IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Bradley IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below 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 many good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Bradley IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Bradley IL area medical providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Bradley medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Bradley 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication 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 offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bradley IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, 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 Bradley Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bradley IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bradley (formerly North Kankakee) is a village in Kankakee County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb of the City of Kankakee. The population was 12,784 at the 2000 census, 15,070 in 2009, and 15,871 in 2012.
Bradley is a principal city of the Kankakee–Bradley Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kankakee County. The county is also part of the larger Chicago–Naperville–Michigan City, IL-IN-WI Combined Statistical Area.
In 1891, North Kankakee was established when the David Bradley Plow Works established a factory, and in recognition of this, in 1895, the town changed its name to Bradley City (later Bradley). Bradley was mostly a blue collar town with the Kroehler Furniture factory and the Roper Corporation factory (maker of kitchen ranges and ovens; part of their operations were in the building that David Bradley once occupied) being the major employers. In the 1980s, as with the rest of the Midwest, these factories closed, and after their closures, parts of those factories burned to the ground. However, by the end of the decade, things changed. In 1989, a new shopping center called Bradley Square was built with Wal-Mart as the first tenant, and more shops followed. The brightest spot in the village's history came on August 1, 1990, when Northfield Square Mall opened. Bradley was poised to attract business. Since that time, the village has been growing. Now, many businesses inhabit the area.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Bradley IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide 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 obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Bradley IL.
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