How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Morton Grove Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Morton Grove IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Morton Grove IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Morton Grove IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Morton Grove 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 education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Morton Grove IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Morton Grove IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Morton Grove IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Morton Grove IL area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Morton Grove healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Morton Grove IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Morton Grove IL, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol 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 Morton Grove Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Morton Grove IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Morton Grove, Illinois
The village is named after former United States Vice President Levi Parsons Morton, who helped finance the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (later the Milwaukee Road) which roughly tracked the North Branch of the Chicago River in the area and established a stop at the old Miller's Mill. Miller's Mill Road, now Lincoln Avenue, connected the former riverside sawmill to the township's central settlement (Niles Center, now Skokie). The railroad stop facilitated trade and development; the upstart neighborhood grew enough to incorporate in December 1895.
Farmers from England, Germany and Luxembourg started arriving in the 1830s, clearing the land by cutting the walnut, oak, hickory, elm and maple trees. Although logs were initially hauled to a sawmill at Dutchman's Point (later Niles, Illinois) at the corner of what would become Milwaukee, Waukegan and Touhy Avenues, immigrant John Miller erected a water-powered sawmill near where the Chicago River met the future Dempster Street shortly after 1841. This simplified homebuilding in the area, as well as facilitated lumber sales. A road (first known as Miller's Mill Road and after 1915 as Lincoln Avenue) allowed wood from the sawmill (and produce from nearby farms) to be hauled to the largest settlement in the surrounding Niles Township (initially known as Niles Center and now Skokie) or even further, into Chicago. Around 1850, the road to/from Chicago now known as Milwaukee Avenue was improved to become a single lane plank (toll) road, which reduced a four-day journey into Chicago to about a half day. Lumber was also hauled to Jefferson Park to fuel locomotives, as the first railroads were built in the area. In 1858, Henry Harms built a toll road from the intersection of Ashland and Lincoln Avenues in Chicago to Skokie, where it met Miller's Mill Road. Harms' Road was later extended through Glenview.
In 1872, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad bought Miller's Mill and laid track (which became two lines in 1892). They also dug gravel for railroad and road use nearby, creating a quarry at what later became Austin Park. The stop (later station) at what had been Miller's Mill was named Morton Grove to honor one of the railroad's New York financiers, Levi Parsons Morton. The Morton Grove settlement began growing from about 100 persons, and by 1874 had grown enough to have its first postmaster, Civil War veteran Medard Lochner. Rural mail service started 21 years later, although a blacksmith shop was opened at the settlement by 1884, and a trading post and saloon had operated since 1847. The first subdivision (177 lots) was platted by real estate developers George Fernald and Fred Bingham in 1891, and a convalescent home for German-American aged was built in 1894. The village formally incorporated on December 24, 1895, just eight days before Morton became the Governor of New York. Morton Grove's first mayor, George Harrer, was of German descent (and would became the namesake of the village's largest park) and his brother became Skokie's mayor.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Morton Grove IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can A Medical Assistant Do. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Morton Grove IL.
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