How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Lake Zurich Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Zurich IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 issues as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Lake Zurich IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lake Zurich IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered 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 courses. They often have a clinical element involving 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Lake Zurich IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Lake Zurich IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Lake Zurich IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Lake Zurich IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop 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 considering 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 focused on that certification. Second, find out 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. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Lake Zurich IL area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Lake Zurich medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lake Zurich IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Zurich IL, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lake Zurich Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lake Zurich IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lake Zurich, Illinois
In 2015, personal finance website, NerdWallet.com, rated Lake Zurich number one in Illinois for young families. In 2006, Lake Zurich was named by Frommer's as one of the top hundred "Best Places to Raise Your Family" and by U.S. News as one of the "Top Twenty-five Affordable Places to Live in the Country". In 2013, Lake Zurich achieved national recognition when Sandra Bullock's character in Gravity name-dropped the village as her character's hometown.
According to the 2010 census, Lake Zurich has a total area of 7.187 square miles (18.61 km2), of which 6.77 square miles (17.53 km2) (or 94.2%) is land and 0.417 square miles (1.08 km2) (or 5.8%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,104 people, 5,746 households, and 4,866 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,792.3 people per square mile (1,078.7/km²). There were 5,828 housing units at an average density of 898.9 per square mile (347.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 92.31% White, 0.81% African American, 0.17% Native American, 3.82% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.55% of the population.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program Lake Zurich IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lake Zurich IL.
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