How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Gurnee Illinois
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Gurnee IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Gurnee IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Gurnee IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those 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 fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Gurnee IL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Gurnee IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Gurnee IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Gurnee IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select 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 school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Gurnee IL area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Gurnee health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Gurnee IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gurnee IL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Gurnee Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Gurnee IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Gurnee (/ˈɡɜːrˌniː/) is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 31,295 as of the 2010 census. It borders the city of Waukegan and is considered a part of the Chicago metropolitan area. It is best known for being the location of Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills, together drawing over 26 million visitors annually.
Early settlers in the Gurnee area came by foot horseback and by "Prairie Schooners" drawn by oxen or via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. They came from the town of Warren, New York, which was named in honor of Major General Joseph Warren, killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Warren Township, formed in 1850, was also named after him. The first settlement of Warren Township commenced in 1835 in the vicinity of the Aux Plaines River (now the Des Plaines River).
In 1835-36, a land company from New York State erected a Community House (site of the old Gurnee Grade School) to accommodate families while they were locating and getting government land grants to their farms. Near the Community House, there was a ford used by the Potowatomi Indians for crossing the river. A floating log bridge was built there in 1842. Later, a stationary wooden bridge was constructed, and still later an iron bridge was erected.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course Gurnee IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Classes. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget 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 ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Gurnee IL.
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