How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Palos Park Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palos Park IL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Palos Park IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. 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 fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Palos Park IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Palos Park IL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Palos Park IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Palos Park IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Palos Park IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring 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 about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Palos Park IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Palos Park health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Palos Park IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare 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 may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Palos Park IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Palos Park Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palos Park IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Palos Park, Illinois
According to the 2010 census, Palos Park has a total area of 3.973 square miles (10.29 km2), of which 3.93 square miles (10.18 km2) (or 98.92%) is land and 0.043 square miles (0.11 km2) (or 1.08%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,689 people, 1,802 households, and 1,389 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,241.8 people per square mile (479.0/km²). There were 1,852 housing units at an average density of 490.5 per square mile (189.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.16% White, 0.28% African American, 0.04% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.11% of the population.
There were 1,802 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.9% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.01.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Palos Park IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can You Do With A Medical Assistant Degree. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Palos Park IL.
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