How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Downers Grove Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Downers Grove IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Downers Grove IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming 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
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Downers Grove IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma 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 transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Downers Grove IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Downers Grove IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Downers Grove IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, 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 complete 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Downers Grove IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Downers Grove IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Downers Grove healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Downers Grove 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 signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Downers Grove IL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Downers Grove Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Downers Grove IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Downers Grove, Illinois
Downers Grove is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, whose surname serves as the eponym for the village. It is a south-western suburb of Chicago in the I-55 Corridor
Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a farmer who traveled to Illinois from Rutland, New York, but was originally from Vermont. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, Blanchard, Stanley, Lyman, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844.
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1864, boosting its population. The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling ("Apostrophe-free since 1873") remains a minor historical mystery.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant School Downers Grove IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is 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 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 covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, 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 9 Month Medical Assistant Program. But regardless of the type 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Downers Grove IL.
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