How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near New Lenox Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near New Lenox IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short 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 Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the New Lenox IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of New Lenox IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in New Lenox IL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential New Lenox IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to New Lenox IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective New Lenox IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with New Lenox IL area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the New Lenox healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the New Lenox IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near New Lenox IL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near New Lenox Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the New Lenox IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
New Lenox, Illinois
New Lenox is located approximately 36 miles southwest of downtown Chicago at 41°30′30″N 87°58′14″W / 41.50833°N 87.97056°W / 41.50833; -87.97056 (41.508251, -87.970597). According to the 2010 census, New Lenox has a total area of 15.683 square miles (40.62 km2), of which 15.66 square miles (40.56 km2) (or 99.85%) is land and 0.023 square miles (0.06 km2) (or 0.15%) is water.
What is now the Village of New Lenox was first settled in the late 1820s, in the area of Gougar crossing (Route 30 and Gougar Road) and it was called VanHorne Point. New Lenox Township was established when Will County was created in 1852 with the building of the Rock Island Railroad between Chicago and Rock Island, Illinois. Originally named Tracey in honor of the general superintendent of the Rock Island Railroad. Mr. Tracy later requested that the community be renamed. The first supervisor of the Rock Island Railway for New Lenox Township, John Van Duser, named the Township New Lenox from the town Lenox, New York, which was Van Duser's hometown. In 1863, the name for the new settlement officially became New Lenox Township.
New Lenox was not officially created until October 4, 1946. In 1945, 46 community leaders, F. Carlton Cole, Walter Baers and others reasoned that the community should be incorporated. Recognizing the benefits and the potential growth of the area, a community vote in the spring of 1946 resulted in the authorization for the creation of the Village of New Lenox. On October 4, 1946, the State of Illinois officially certified that New Lenox was legally organized and incorporated as a Village in the State of Illinois.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School New Lenox IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges 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, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in New Lenox IL.
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