How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Mchenry Illinois
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mchenry IL, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short 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 Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Mchenry IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Mchenry IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative 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 alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Mchenry IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Mchenry IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Mchenry IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Mchenry IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Mchenry IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Mchenry healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Mchenry IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mchenry IL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask 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 Mchenry Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Mchenry IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
McHenry is a city in McHenry County, Illinois, United States. The 2010 U.S. census reported its population at 26,992 and rests at an elevation of 797 feet. McHenry was at one time the county seat of McHenry County, which once included adjoining Lake County to the east. McHenry took its name from McHenry County, which was named for Major William McHenry, an Indian fighter.
McHenry is surrounded by natural lakes and streams, grassy moraine hills, gravel banks and shallow nutrient-rich peat bogs, remnants of receding glaciers from the last ice age. Moraine Hills State Park and Volo Bog State Natural Area preserve some of these natural features. 
George Gage came to the area in 1835 and purchased a plot of land west of the Fox River. This area eventually came to be known as Gagetown. In 1854, George Gage played an instrumental role in bringing the railroad to the city. Gagetown was eventually renamed to West McHenry.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School Mchenry IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon 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 organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs Online. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Mchenry IL.
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