How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Olympia Fields Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Olympia Fields IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about 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 colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Olympia Fields IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. 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 support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Olympia Fields IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with trade 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 often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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 many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Olympia Fields IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Olympia Fields IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like 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 start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Olympia Fields IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below 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 many good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Olympia Fields IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Olympia Fields IL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Olympia Fields medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Olympia Fields IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness 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 school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Olympia Fields IL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Olympia Fields Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Olympia Fields IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Olympia Fields, Illinois
Olympia Fields is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,988 at the 2010 census. The municipality grew up around the prestigious Olympia Fields Country Club, originally established in 1915.
Olympia Fields is noteworthy as one of the wealthiest and best educated, majority African-American, communities in the United States. The village's zip code (60461) is one of three majority African American communities which rank among the top five percent in the U.S., for median household income and share of adults with college degrees.
The area that comprises the village today was once farmland managed by immigrant families during the 1830s. The Illinois Central Railroad began serving the area in the 1850s, which fostered population and economic growth during that era.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Olympia Fields IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Info. 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, don’t forget 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 start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Olympia Fields IL.
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