How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Glenwood Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Glenwood IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Glenwood IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions 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 rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Glenwood 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 generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Glenwood IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Glenwood IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Glenwood IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Glenwood IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Glenwood IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Glenwood healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Glenwood IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during 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 monitor a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Glenwood IL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Glenwood Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Glenwood IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
As of the census of 2010 there were 8,969 residents of Glenwood. The median age was 39.5. The racial composition of the population was 66.7% Black- or African-American, 27.3% White or European-American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.3% from some other race and 2.2% reporting two or more races. 7.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,000 people, 3,373 households, and 2,472 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,350.1 people per square mile (1,291.8/km²). There were 3,461 housing units at an average density of 1,288.3 per square mile (496.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 51.28% White, 44.53% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 2.26% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.02% of the population.
There were 3,373 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.16.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Glenwood IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Does It Take To Be A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Glenwood IL.
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