How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Highland Park Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Highland Park IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Highland Park IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Highland Park IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare 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 comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Highland Park IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Highland Park IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably 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 exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Highland Park IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Highland Park IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Highland Park IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Highland Park health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Highland Park IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Highland Park IL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Highland Park Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Highland Park IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Highland Park, Illinois
Highland Park is an affluent suburban city in Lake County, Illinois, United States, about 25 miles (40 km) north of downtown Chicago. As of the 2016 population estimate, the population was 29,641. Highland Park is one of several municipalities located on the North Shore of the Chicago metropolitan area.
In 1867, ten men purchased Highland Park for $39,198.70. They were the original stockholders of the Highland Park Building Company. Following construction of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad, a depot was established at Highland Park and a plat, extending south to Central Avenue, was laid out in 1856. Highland Park was established as a city on March 11, 1869, with a population of 500, and evolved from two settlements—St. John and Port Clinton. Highland Park was named from its parklike setting at a lofty elevation relative to the lake, and was given its name from Walter S. Gurnee. The town annexed the village of Ravinia in 1899.
Highland Park has several attractions including a vibrant downtown shopping district and the Ravinia Festival. Ravinia Festival is an open-air pavilion seating 3,200, which hosts classical, pop and jazz concerts in the summers. It has been the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1936. Concert-goers can purchase seats in the covered pavilion or tickets to sit on the lawn. Many visitors arrive early and picnic on the lawn before and during concerts. The festival is located in Ravinia District, originally an artists' colony, which still retains much of its early character and architecture.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Highland Park IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate 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 lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Highland Park IL.
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