How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Oak Brook Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Oak Brook IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each 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 kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Oak Brook IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Oak Brook IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Oak Brook IL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Oak Brook IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Oak Brook IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Oak Brook IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Oak Brook IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Oak Brook healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Oak Brook IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oak Brook IL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Oak Brook Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Oak Brook IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Oak Brook, Illinois
Oak Brook is a village in DuPage County with a small portion in Cook County in Illinois. The population was 7,883 at the 2010 census. A suburb of Chicago, Oak Brook serves as home to the headquarters of several notable companies and organizations including McDonald's (now moved to Chicago), Ace Hardware, Blistex, Federal Signal, CenterPoint Properties, Sanford L.P., TreeHouse Foods, and Lions Clubs International.
Oak Brook was incorporated as a village in 1958, due in large part to the efforts of Paul Butler, a prominent civic leader and landowner whose father had first moved to the vicinity in 1898 and opened a dairy farm shortly thereafter. Prior to incorporation, the name Oak Brook was used by local residents to distinguish their community from neighboring Hinsdale and Elmhurst, going back to the founding of the Oak Brook Civic Association almost two decades earlier.
The original boundaries were smaller than the present extent of the village, but a considerable amount of land was annexed soon after the founding of the village, including the land that is now the site of the Oakbrook Center shopping mall, which opened in 1962.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Oak Brook IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges 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, verify that the program you pick 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 Fast Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Oak Brook IL.
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