How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Joliet Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Joliet IL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential 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 cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Joliet IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can 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 submitting 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
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Joliet IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade 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 courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Joliet IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Joliet IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Joliet IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Joliet IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Joliet IL area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Joliet medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Joliet IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Joliet IL, confirm that those times are available. You might 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 may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Joliet Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Joliet IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Joliet (/ˈdʒoʊliɛt, dʒoʊliˈɛt/) is a city in Will and Kendall counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County and a major part of the southwest Chicago metropolitan area. At the 2010 census, the city was the fourth largest in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. A population estimate in 2018 put Joliet's population at 150,495, which would make it the 3rd largest city in Illinois if accurate.
In 1673, Louis Jolliet, along with Father Jacques Marquette, paddled up the Des Plaines River and camped on a huge mound, a few miles south of present-day Joliet. Maps from Jolliet's exploration of the area, placed a large hill or mound on what is now the southwest corner of the city, since there is no point that is farther southwest. That hill was named Mound Jolliet. The spot was mined by early settlers and is now a depression.
In 1833, following the Black Hawk War, Charles Reed built a cabin along the west side of the Des Plaines River. Across the river in 1834, James B. Campbell, treasurer of the canal commissioners, laid out the village of "Juliet", named after his daughter. Just before the economic depression of 1837, Juliet incorporated as a village, but to cut tax expenses, Juliet residents soon petitioned the state to rescind that incorporation. In 1845, local residents changed the community's name from "Juliet" to "Joliet". Joliet was reincorporated as a city in 1852. Cornelius Covenhoven Van Horne was active in getting the city its first charter, and because of this he was elected Joliet's first Mayor. When the city later built a new bridge it was named The Van Horne Bridge.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Joliet IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training School. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Joliet IL.
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