How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Long Grove Illinois
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Long Grove IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Long Grove IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may 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 choices 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Long Grove IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 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 offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Long Grove IL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Long Grove IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Long Grove IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Long Grove IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, 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 contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Long Grove IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Long Grove medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Long Grove 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Long Grove IL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Long Grove Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Long Grove IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Long Grove, Illinois
Long Grove is an affluent village in Lake County, Illinois, United States, approximately 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Chicago. As of the 2010 census, the village had a population of 8,043. The village has strict building ordinances to preserve its "country atmosphere".
According to the 2010 census, Long Grove has a total area of 12.715 square miles (32.93 km2), of which 12.48 square miles (32.32 km2) (or 98.15%) is land and 0.235 square miles (0.61 km2) (or 1.85%) is water.
The village now has very strict building ordinances to preserve its "pristine rural charm", including prohibitions on sidewalks, fences, and residential street lights. The Long Grove area is now known for its historic downtown, its exclusive million dollar homes and the annual chocolate, strawberry and apple festivals that take place in May, June and September, respectively.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant College Long Grove IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon 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 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 How To Become A Medical Assistant. But regardless 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Long Grove IL.
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