How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Montgomery Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Montgomery IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Montgomery IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers 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 practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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 professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Montgomery IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Montgomery IL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Montgomery IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Montgomery IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Montgomery IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’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 getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Montgomery IL area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Montgomery medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Montgomery IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery IL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Montgomery Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Montgomery IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Montgomery is a village in Kane and Kendall counties, Illinois, as well as a Chicago suburb. The population was 5,471 at the 2000 census, while the 2010 census lists Montgomery's population at 18,438. This is a 237 percent increase from 2000, making Montgomery the 9th fastest growing municipality in Illinois during this period.
According to the 2010 census, Montgomery has a total area of 9.512 square miles (24.64 km2), of which 9.34 square miles (24.19 km2) (or 98.19%) is land and 0.172 square miles (0.45 km2) (or 1.81%) is water.
The first European settler arriving in the area was Jacob Carpenter, who came to the Chicago area from Logan County, Ohio in November 1832. In the fall of 1835, Daniel S. Gray, from Montgomery County, New York, visited the area where his brother Nicholas Gray had located in the previous spring, on a farm now within the limits of Kendall County. He made immediate preparations to settle there, and in the fall of 1836, after his family moved from New York state, he built the first wooden house in the area. It was located in the southern part of what is now Montgomery, near the west bank of the Fox River.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School Montgomery IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Requirements. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Montgomery IL.
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