How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Granite City Illinois
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Granite City IL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short 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 available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Granite City IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Granite City IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Granite City IL area medical 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 might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve 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 individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Granite City IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably 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 have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Granite City IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Granite City IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Granite City IL area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Granite City health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Granite City IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Granite City IL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Granite City Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Granite City IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Granite City, Illinois
Granite City is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States, within the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The population was 29,849 at the 2010 census, making it the second-largest city in the Metro East and Southern Illinois regions, behind Belleville. Officially founded in 1896, Granite City was named by the Niedringhaus brothers, William and Frederick, who established it as a steel making company town for the manufacture of kitchen utensils made to resemble granite.
The area was settled much earlier than Granite City's official founding. In the early 19th century, settlers began to farm the rich fertile grounds to the east of St. Louis. Around 1801, the area saw the establishment of Six Mile Settlement, a farming area that occupied the area of present-day Granite City, six miles (10 km) from St. Louis. Soon after, around 1806, the National Road was to be constructed through the area, but it was never completed. By 1817, the area became known as Six Mile Prairie, to distinguish it from Six Mile Township. By 1854, the first railroad was built. In 1856, the area known as Six Mile would be changed to Kinder.
Granite City was founded in 1896 to be a planned company city similar to Pullman, Illinois, by German immigrant brothers Frederick G. and William Niedringhaus for their Granite ware kitchen supplies factory.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Granite City IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Is Medical Assistant School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Granite City IL.
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