How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near La Grange Illinois
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near La Grange IL, it’s time to select a school that will provide 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 start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the La Grange IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing 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
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of La Grange IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend 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 earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in La Grange IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential La Grange IL medical employers simply 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to La Grange IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential La Grange IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design 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 looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get 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 elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with La Grange IL area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the La Grange healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the La Grange IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near La Grange IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, 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 La Grange Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the La Grange IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
La Grange, Illinois
The village of La Grange (/ləɡreɪndʒ/) (often spelled LaGrange), a suburb of Chicago, is a village in Cook County, in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 15,550 at the 2010 census.
The area around La Grange was first settled in the 1830s, when Chicago residents moved out to the west due to the rapid population increase in the city in the decade since its incorporation. The first settler, Robert Leitch, came to the area in 1830, seven years before the City of Chicago was incorporated. La Grange's location, at approximately 13 miles (21 km) from the Chicago Loop, is not considered far from the city by today's standards, but in that time the residents enjoyed the peace of rural life without much communication with urban residents.
The village was officially incorporated on June 11, 1879. It was founded by Franklin Dwight Cossitt, who was born in Granby, Connecticut, and raised in Tennessee, and moved to Chicago in 1862 where he built a successful wholesale grocery business.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training La Grange IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning 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 info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant Fast. 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in La Grange IL.
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