How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Forest Park Illinois
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Forest Park IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Forest Park IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size 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 practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Forest Park IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided 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 training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Forest Park IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Forest Park IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate 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 previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Forest Park IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Forest Park IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Forest Park IL area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Forest Park healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Forest Park IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad 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 receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Forest Park IL, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Forest Park Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Forest Park IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Forest Park, Illinois
Forest Park (formerly Harlem) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, United States. The population was 14,167 at the 2010 census. The Forest Park terminal on the CTA Blue Line is the line's western terminus, located on the Eisenhower Expressway at Des Plaines Avenue.
Forest Park is located at 41°52′23″N 87°48′40″W / 41.87306°N 87.81111°W / 41.87306; -87.81111 (41.873031, -87.811155). According to the 2010 census, Forest Park has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.22 km2), all land. The Des Plaines River runs through Forest Park.
For much of its history, Forest Park was known as a "Village of cemeteries", with more dead "residents" than living ones; some figures estimate the ratio at 30:1, dead to alive. Forest Park cemeteries include Altenheim,Forest Home Cemetery (incorporating the German Waldheim Cemetery),Jewish Waldheim (producer Mike Todd is buried in Beth Aaron there),Woodlawn (including Showmen's Rest), and Concordia. Forest Home Cemetery is home to the famous Haymarket Martyrs' Monument.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Forest Park IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision 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 a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Does A Medical Assistant Do. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Forest Park IL.
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