How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Glen Carbon Illinois
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glen Carbon IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Glen Carbon IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run 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 giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Glen Carbon IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 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 option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Glen Carbon IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Glen Carbon IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Glen Carbon IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Glen Carbon IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? 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 about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Glen Carbon IL area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Glen Carbon healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Glen Carbon IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glen Carbon IL, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Glen Carbon Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Glen Carbon IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Glen Carbon, Illinois
In 1801, Colonel Samuel Judy received a military grant for 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land near the base of the bluffs, just north of Judy Creek, and became one of the first permanent settlers of Madison County. The land was called Goshen Settlement, after the biblical land of Goshen. It was renamed Glen Carbon to reflect its coal mining heritage. Glen Carbon was incorporated as a village in 1892. It operated many coal mines until the last one shut down in 1934. Another industry was the St. Louis brick company, which burned down in the 1930s; then, right after being rebuilt, it burned down and was never rebuilt again.
Glen Carbon residents served during World War I. The city's Doughboy statue, honoring their service, has been selected as part of a national competition for restoration as part of the nation's World War I centennial activities.
Three railroads once served Glen Carbon. The Illinois Central Railroad, now the Ronald J. Foster Sr. Heritage Bike Trail, became one of the first rails to trails projects in the US, in 1992. The other two lines were the Norfolk Southern line and the Chicago and North Western line, which ran parallel with each other the entire way through Glen Carbon, and stopped operating in Glen Carbon in March 2000. The Nickel Plate Bike Trail follows both of those right-of-ways, switching back and forth between the NS and CNW lines the whole way through Glen Carbon.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Glen Carbon IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glen Carbon IL.
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