How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Ottawa Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ottawa IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Ottawa IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect 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 Education
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Ottawa IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Ottawa IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Ottawa IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided 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. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start 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. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ottawa IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Ottawa IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Ottawa IL area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Ottawa medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Ottawa IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ottawa IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy 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 Ottawa Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ottawa IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Ottawa is a city located at the confluence of the navigable Illinois River and Fox River in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The Illinois River is a conduit for river barges and connects Lake Michigan at Chicago, to the Mississippi River, and North America's 25,000 mile river system. The population estimate was 18,562 as of 2013. It is the county seat of LaSalle County and it is part of the Ottawa-Peru, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Ottawa was the site of the first of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. During the Ottawa debate Stephen A. Douglas, leader of the Democratic Party, openly accused Abraham Lincoln of forming a secret bipartisan group of Congressmen to bring about the abolition of slavery.
The John Hossack House was a "station" on the Underground Railroad, and Ottawa was a major stop because of its rail, road, and river transportation. Citizens in the city were active within the abolitionist movement. Ottawa was the site of a famous 1859 extrication of a runaway slave named Jim Gray from a courthouse by prominent civic leaders of the time. Three of the civic leaders, John Hossack, Dr. Joseph Stout and James Stout, later stood trial in Chicago for violating the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Ottawa IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, 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 Accredited Schools For Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure 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 subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Ottawa IL.
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