How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Liberty Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Liberty IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Liberty IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Liberty IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving 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 offered online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Liberty IL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Liberty IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Liberty IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Liberty IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Liberty IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Liberty medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Liberty IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Liberty IL, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Liberty Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Liberty IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
"Liberty Township began with the first settlement made on Section 28, by Daniel Lile, in the spring of 1822, and many old settlers followed about the same time. The first regular preacher was George Wolfe of the Dunkard denomination. First horse mill was built by Daniel Lile. The first marriage was that of Jacob Waggle to a Miss Hunsaker, by the Rev. George Wolfe, at the house of the bride's father. The first birth and death, was an infant child of Mr. Kimbrick. The first Supervisor was David Wolfe. The town of Liberty is nearly in the center of the township and is quite a flourishing little town. Liberty is inhabited by an industrious and intelligent people, who have fine farms and desirable houses."
As of the census of 2000, there were 519 people, 212 households, and 159 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,386.7 people per square mile (541.6/km²). There were 231 housing units at an average density of 617.2 per square mile (241.1/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.81% White and 0.19% Native American. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.19% of the population.
There were 212 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.0% were non-families. 22.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.79.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Liberty 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 goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Career. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Liberty IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois