How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Fox Lake Illinois
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fox Lake IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Fox Lake IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing 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. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Fox Lake IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Fox Lake IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Fox Lake IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps 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 exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Fox Lake IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, 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 frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Fox Lake IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn 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 low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Fox Lake IL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Fox Lake medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Fox Lake IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may 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 offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fox Lake IL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Fox Lake Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fox Lake IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fox Lake, Illinois
The village was incorporated on December 15, 1906, and certified by the state on April 13, 1907. The area was first explored during the 17th century by the French. In the late 19th century, it was known as Nippersink Point. Early in the 20th century, there were but a few hundred residents. During the summer season, however, the population would reach an estimated 20,000 people, and at its peak, the area had 50 hotels and 2,000 cottages. Infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone allegedly utilized an establishment now known as the Mineola Hotel and Restaurant as a hideout. In 1979, the Mineola was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and may be the largest wooden frame structure in the state.
Many Chicagoans have established summer homes in Fox Lake. The village is situated among the Chain O'Lakes, where swimming, boating, jet skiing, tubing and boarding are popular activities. In 2006, there were an estimated 28,000 boats registered on the lake system.
Boating accidents are prevalent in today's society, however, number of accidents on Fox Lake have decreased in part to stricter regulations on boating under the influence and other factors. Fiscal year 2010 had only one accident and death by boat. That number rose in 2015 to 3 accidents, 1 injury and 1 death. The two fatalities in 2015 were caused by drowning due to alcohol use.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course Fox Lake IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick 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 Medical Assistant Duties. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Fox Lake IL.
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