How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Chicago Illinois
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chicago IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Chicago IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. 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 medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Chicago 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 essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community 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 classes. They usually have a clinical component 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Chicago IL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Chicago IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Chicago IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Chicago IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’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. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Chicago IL area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Chicago health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Chicago 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chicago IL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Chicago Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Chicago IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ ( listen), locally also /-ˈkɔː-/), formally the City of Chicago, is located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, and is the third most populous city in the United States. As of the 2017 census-estimate, Chicago has a population of 2,716,450, which makes it the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the U.S. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area has nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900 Chicago was one of the five largest cities in the world. During this period, Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Positioned along Lake Michigan, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. The city saw the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade; which today is the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures.O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, and the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index. Chicago has the fourth-largest gross metropolitan product in the world—generating about $670.5 billion according to September 2017 estimates—ranking it after the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ranking ahead of number five London and number six Paris. Chicago has one of the world's largest and most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Chicago IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Classes. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Chicago IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois
Business Results 1 - 10 of 951