How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Geneva Illinois
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Geneva IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Geneva IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Geneva IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element 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.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Geneva IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Geneva IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Geneva IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Geneva IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Geneva IL area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Geneva health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Geneva IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Geneva IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training 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 Geneva Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Geneva IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Geneva is part of a tri-city area, located between St. Charles and Batavia. As of a July 2011 official US Census Bureau estimate, the city had a total population of 21,707. The area is currently experiencing a high level of population growth as Chicago's urban sprawl spreads farther west.
Geneva is a popular tourist destination with its scenic location along the Fox River and numerous shops and restaurants. There is an extensive bike trail system in Geneva including portions of the Fox River Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path. Geneva has an active historical society, the Geneva History Center, located in downtown Geneva as well as the Fabyan Windmill, an old Dutch windmill dating back to the 1850s. In 2013 it was nominated by Bloomberg Business Week as the best place to raise a kid in Illinois.
According to the 2010 census, Geneva has a total area of 9.994 square miles (25.88 km2), of which 9.75 square miles (25.25 km2) (or 97.56%) is land and 0.244 square miles (0.63 km2) (or 2.44%) is water.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Geneva IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example 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 How Long Is Medical Assistant Training. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Geneva IL.
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