How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Medinah Illinois
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Medinah IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Medinah IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a particular 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Medinah IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of 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 keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Medinah IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Medinah IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Medinah IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Medinah IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Medinah IL area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Medinah healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Medinah 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Medinah IL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Medinah Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Medinah IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Medinah is an unincorporated community in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Illinois and is a northwestern suburb of Chicago. Medinah, located in DuPage County, is situated between the villages of Roselle, Itasca, and Bloomingdale.
The community of Medinah is named after the Medinah Country Club. In the 1920s, a group of members of the city of Chicago's Medinah Temple (affiliated with the Shriners) moved into the area, then known as Meacham (for the Meacham, Lawrence and Rosenwinkel families). Together, they built a country retreat and 54-hole golf course, aiming to make it the best golf course in North America. The club had 1,500 members in the late 1920s; the Great Depression and World War II drove membership down until the postwar period, when membership recovered to the present-day 600.
In 1999, a group led by Jack Roeser and backed by Senator James Philip attempted to bring a charter school to Medinah. The proposed Thomas Jefferson Charter School was met with NIMBY opposition by local residents. The charter school ultimately ended up opening on the northwest side of Chicago busing students from the northwest and west suburbs.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Medinah IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What’s A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Medinah IL.
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