How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Lansing Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lansing IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Lansing IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Lansing IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Lansing IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Lansing IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Lansing IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Lansing IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lansing IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Lansing healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Lansing IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lansing IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lansing Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lansing IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lansing is located at 41°33′57″N 87°32′45″W / 41.56583°N 87.54583°W / 41.56583; -87.54583 (41.565785, -87.545791). It is 6.9 miles (11.1 km) south of the Chicago city limits at 138th Street, and 25.6 miles (41.2 km) from the Chicago Loop. Lansing is bordered by Glenwood and Thornton to the west, Calumet City and South Holland to the north, Lynwood to the south, and by Munster and Hammond in Indiana to the east.
According to the 2010 census, Lansing has a total area of 6.848 square miles (17.74 km2), of which 6.79 square miles (17.59 km2) (or 99.15%) is land and 0.058 square miles (0.15 km2) (or 0.85%) is water. Lansing sits on the Calumet Shoreline, an ancient shoreline of Lake Michigan. This shoreline runs along Ridge Road.
Lansing is represented in the United States Congress by Representative Robin Kelly, of Illinois' 2nd congressional district, as well as Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth in the United States Senate.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Lansing IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 Medical Assistant Schools With Financial Aid. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lansing IL.
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