How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Park Ridge Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Park Ridge IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Park Ridge IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Park Ridge IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Park Ridge IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Park Ridge IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided 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 thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Park Ridge IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Park Ridge IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating 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 evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially 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 opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Park Ridge IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Park Ridge healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Park Ridge IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Park Ridge IL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Park Ridge Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Park Ridge IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Park Ridge, Illinois
Park Ridge is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States, and a Chicago suburb. The population was 37,480 at the 2010 census. It is located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of downtown Chicago. It is close to O'Hare International Airport, major expressways, and rail transportation. It is a part of the Chicago metropolitan area, bordering three northwestern neighborhoods of Chicago's Far North Side (Edison Park, Norwood Park, and O'Hare.)
As its name suggests, Park Ridge lies on a ridge. The soil is abundant with clay deposits, which made it a brick-making center for the developing city of Chicago. Park Ridge was originally called Pennyville to honor George Penny, the businessman who owned the local brickyard along with Robert Meacham. Later it was named Brickton. The Des Plaines River divides Park Ridge from neighboring Des Plaines, Illinois, which is west of Park Ridge. Chicago is south and east of Park Ridge, and Niles and unincorporated Maine Township are to its north.
The area of Park Ridge was inhabited by the Potawatomie until they were removed in 1833. The area was a convenient portage between the Des Plaines and Chicago rivers for the French explorers and in the early 1830s, the first settlers arrived from New England and New York. In 1854 George Penny established a brickworks in the area. In 1910 Park Ridge had a population of 2,009. In 1930 the population was 10,417. In 1950 the population was 16,602. In 1960 the population was 32,625, with 99.9% of the population white. There were five African-Americans and 31 people classed other than black or white. By 1970, the population had risen to 42,466. In 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigned as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. She was a graduate of the first class of Park Ridge's Maine Township High School South (1965).
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Park Ridge 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. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Good Medical Assistant Schools. But regardless of the kind 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Park Ridge IL.
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