How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Greenville Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Greenville IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Greenville IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Greenville IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available 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 classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for individuals 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Greenville IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Greenville IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Greenville 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 examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Greenville IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn 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 naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Greenville IL area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Greenville medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Greenville IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Greenville IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Greenville Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Greenville IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Greenville celebrated its Bicentennial in 2015 as one of the oldest communities in Illinois. It is home to Greenville University, the Richard Bock Museum, the American Farm Heritage Museum, the Armed Forces Museum and the Demoulin Museum and a federal prison, Federal Correctional Institution, Greenville (FCI Greenville). It is also home to internationally known companies, including Nevco Scoreboard, the largest privately owned scoreboard company in the world, and DeMoulin Brothers, the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of band uniforms.
Greenville was founded by George Davidson in 1815 in what was then the Illinois Territory, when he purchased 160 acres (65 ha) along the bluff overlooking Little Shoal Creek, in what was then still part of Madison County. Davidson built a tavern near the present-day intersection of Main and Sixth streets, and by 1816 he was selling individual lots. The federal government established its first federal post office in Greenville in 1819. It was incorporated as a town in 1855 and as a city in 1872. At one time, it had neighborhoods called New Jerusalem, Piety Hill, Cobtown, and Buzzard Roost. A few possible reasons have been put forth for the naming of the town. Some think the town was named after Greenville, North Carolina, which had been named after Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. Others say that Greenville was named by early settler Thomas White because it was "so green and nice". A third possibility is that Greenville was named after Green P. Rice, the town's first merchant.
Greenville became the county seat of Bond County in 1821. The earlier seat of Perryville was annexed into Fayette County when it was formed from part of Bond County, requiring the naming of a new seat. Davidson offered to give the county government land around the present-day town square. His offer was accepted, and a courthouse was built in 1821 on the site of the current courthouse.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Greenville IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning 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 info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. But irrespective of the type 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Greenville IL.
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