How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Godfrey Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Godfrey IL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Godfrey IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Godfrey IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Godfrey IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary 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 mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Godfrey IL medical employers simply will not hire 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 take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Godfrey IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Godfrey IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Godfrey IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Godfrey medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Godfrey IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Godfrey IL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Godfrey Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Godfrey IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
According to the 2010 census, Godfrey has a total area of 36.638 square miles (94.89 km2), of which 34.64 square miles (89.72 km2) (or 94.55%) is land and 1.998 square miles (5.17 km2) (or 5.45%) is water.
The southwestern boundary of the village is a wall of limestone bluffs along the Mississippi River. Approximately 12 miles (19 km) upstream is the mouth of the Illinois River. The Missouri River empties into the Mississippi 10 miles (16 km) downstream. Godfrey retains the status of a village and is a mixture of small business, agriculture, and upper middle class housing developments.
The village is named for Captain Benjamin Godfrey, a native New Englander, who arrived in the area in 1832. 1838 saw the establishment of the Monticello Female Seminary, later renamed Monticello College. Captain Godfrey, the father of eight daughters, was an advocate of higher education for women and made a large donation of funds and land for the college. Monticello operated as a two-year college for women until the campus was sold in 1970 to establish Lewis and Clark Community College. Monticello's final class graduated in 1971.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Godfrey IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Medical Assistant In 6 Weeks. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Godfrey IL.
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