How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Harvey Illinois
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Harvey IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is ensure that the Harvey IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties 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 fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Harvey IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Harvey IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Harvey 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 highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Harvey IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Harvey IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Harvey IL area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Harvey medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Harvey IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Harvey IL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, 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 because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Harvey Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Harvey IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Harvey is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States, and a suburb south of Chicago. The population was 25,282 at the 2010 census. The city suffers from high levels of unemployment (22.0%), poverty (33.2%), and crime.
Harvey is bordered by the villages of Dixmoor and Riverdale to the north; Dolton, Phoenix, and South Holland to the east; East Hazel Crest to the south; and Hazel Crest, Markham and Posen to the west.
Harvey was founded in 1891 by Turlington W. Harvey, a close associate of Dwight Moody, the founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Harvey was originally intended as a model town for Christian values and was one of the Temperance Towns. It was closely modeled after the company town of Pullman, which eventually was annexed into the city of Chicago.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program Harvey IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days 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 a recognized agency, such as 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 Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Harvey IL.
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