How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Galesburg Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Galesburg IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating 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, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Galesburg IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Galesburg 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 basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Galesburg IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Galesburg 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 respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Galesburg IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating schools. 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 choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Galesburg IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare 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 interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Galesburg IL area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Galesburg healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Galesburg IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual 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 face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Galesburg IL, verify 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 any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Galesburg Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Galesburg IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Galesburg is a city in Knox County, Illinois, United States. This city is forty-five miles (72.4 km) northwest of Peoria. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 32,195. It is the county seat of Knox County. Galesburg is home to Knox College, a private four-year liberal arts college, and Carl Sandburg College, a two-year community college.
Galesburg was founded by George Washington Gale, a Presbyterian minister from New York state who dreamed of establishing a manual labor college (which became Knox College). A committee from New York purchased 17 acres (0.069 km2; 0.027 sq mi) in Knox County in 1835, and the first 25 settlers arrived in 1836. They built temporary cabins in Log City near current Lake Storey, just north of Galesburg, having decided that no log cabins were to be built inside the town limits.
Galesburg was home to the first anti-slavery society in Illinois, founded in 1837, and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The city was the site of the fifth Lincoln–Douglas debate, on a temporary speaker's platform attached to Knox College's Old Main building on October 7, 1858. Knox College continues to maintain and use Old Main to this day. An Underground Railroad Museum and Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum were built in Knox College's Alumni Hall after it had finished renovations.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Galesburg IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Galesburg IL.
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