How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Buffalo Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Buffalo IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean 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 important issues as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Buffalo IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some 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
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Buffalo IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Buffalo IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Buffalo IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at 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, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Buffalo IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Buffalo IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Buffalo IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Buffalo healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Buffalo IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buffalo IL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still 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 may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Buffalo Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Buffalo IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
As of the 2010 census, the village population was 41,496. Most of the village is located within the 10th Congressional District of Illinois, although the southern portion is represented in the 8th Congressional District.
Buffalo Grove is located at 42°9′59″N 87°57′48″W / 42.16639°N 87.96333°W / 42.16639; -87.96333 (42.166332, −87.963391), among the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Illinois Route 83 leads north towards central Lake County and south towards O'Hare International Airport. East-west streets can take residents east to Lake Michigan and other North Shore suburbs such as Lake Forest, Highland Park, and Glencoe.
Buffalo Grove is split along Lake Cook Road into two parts: the Lake County Vernon Township portion; and the Cook County Wheeling Township portion. Around three-quarters of the village is in Vernon Township. Both portions differ in their demographics and similarities with neighboring communities. Buffalo Grove shares a border with Wheeling to its southeast, Arlington Heights to its southwest and south, Riverwoods and Deerfield directly east, Lincolnshire to its northeast, Vernon Hills directly north, and Long Grove to its west and northwest. Unincorporated Prairie View is located in two different parts around the village. First, there is the larger and historic portion which is towards the north and includes Didier Farms. Then, there is the second, much smaller portion which is centered on the Horatio Gardens subdivision just northeast of the intersection of Weiland Road and Pauline Avenue.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Buffalo IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Buffalo IL.
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