How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Hinsdale Illinois
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hinsdale IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Hinsdale IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support 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 functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Hinsdale IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to attend 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Hinsdale IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Hinsdale IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Hinsdale IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Hinsdale IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare 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 Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Hinsdale IL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Hinsdale medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Hinsdale IL area and find out 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 broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hinsdale IL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hinsdale Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hinsdale IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hinsdale is a village in Cook and DuPage counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. Hinsdale is a western suburb of Chicago. The population was 16,816 at the 2010 census, most of whom lived in DuPage County. The town's ZIP code is 60521, and it is listed in the top 1% of wealthiest towns in Illinois. It is known locally for its beautiful residences and teardown culture, of which new rebuilds have taken 30% of homes in the village. The town has a rolling, wooded topography, with a quaint downtown, and is a 22-minute express train ride to downtown Chicago on the Burlington Northern line.
Hinsdale is located 20 miles (32 km) west of Chicago and is bordered by Western Springs to the east, Clarendon Hills and Westmont to the west, Oak Brook to the north, and Burr Ridge and Willowbrook to the south. It can be reached by highway from Interstate 294 or Interstate 55. The eastern boundary of Hinsdale is I-294, and the western boundary is Route 83.
According to the 2010 census, Hinsdale has a total area of 4.633 square miles (12.00 km2), of which 4.6 square miles (11.91 km2) (or 99.29%) is land and 0.033 square miles (0.09 km2) (or 0.71%) is water.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Hinsdale IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as 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 Registered Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hinsdale IL.
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