How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Palatine Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palatine IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Palatine IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Palatine IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work 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 additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Palatine IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Palatine IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly 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 have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Palatine IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Palatine IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Palatine IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Palatine health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Palatine IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Palatine IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, 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 Palatine Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palatine IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Palatine (/ˈpælətaɪn/) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is a northwestern residential suburb of Chicago. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 65,479. In the 2010 census its population had risen to 68,557, making it the seventh-largest community in Cook County and the 18th-largest in the state of Illinois.
The first European-American to settle in Palatine is generally thought to be George Ela, who built a log cabin in the area now called Deer Grove. Ela was one of the first of a wave of pioneers to migrate to northern Illinois following the Black Hawk War. A road which passes through the western edge of Palatine is called Ela Road in his honor.
The Village of Palatine was founded in 1866. It was built around a station on the new Chicago and North Western Railway. Joel Wood surveyed and laid out the village, earning him the title of Palatine's founder. One of Palatine's original downtown streets is named after Wood.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Palatine IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal 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 acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Evening Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Palatine IL.
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