How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Niles Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Niles IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Niles IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Niles 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 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a 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 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs 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. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Niles IL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Niles IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Niles IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive 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 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Niles IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Niles IL area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Niles health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Niles 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Niles IL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Niles Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Niles IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Niles is a village in Maine and Niles townships, Cook County, Illinois, United States, directly neighboring the City of Chicago's far northwest border. The 2010 population from the U.S. Census Bureau was 29,803. The current population (2016) is 29,617. The current mayor of Niles is Andrew Przybylo.
Joseph Curtis settled in what became Niles in 1827, and John Dewes followed in 1831. The settlement was originally called "Dutchman's Point", referring to German immigrants who followed, including John Plank of Hesse-Darmstadt (who sold whiskey to passing travelers and remaining Native Americans) and the Ebinger brothers of Stuttgart, as well as John Schadiger, Julius Perren, John-Jackson Ruland (d. 1880) and Revolutionary war soldier John Ketchum.
Many people of Native American ancestry lived in the area; Chief Blackhawk reportedly often smoked a peace pipe with Christian Ebinger. Article 4 of the Second Treaty of Prairie du Chien, signed on July 29, 1829 between the United States government and several chiefs of the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatamie left particular tracts of land to individuals of mixed-Native American ancestry. Among them were Billy Caldwell, Victoria Pothier, and Jane Miranda. Land titled to these individuals eventually established part of the border of Niles. During the 1832 Black Hawk War, one band of Native Americans may have reached Billy Caldwell's property as part of an attempt to reclaim land lost to the United States. Hostilities ended in 1833, and most Native Americans immediately left, moving west of the Mississippi River
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Niles IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Cost. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Niles IL.
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