How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Pittsfield Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pittsfield IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Pittsfield IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance 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 many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized 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 many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Pittsfield IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might 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 pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Pittsfield IL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Pittsfield IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Pittsfield IL with the cheapest 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 explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you select 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 intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Pittsfield IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want 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. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Pittsfield IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Pittsfield healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pittsfield IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pittsfield IL, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy 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 Pittsfield Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pittsfield IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pittsfield was initially settled by settlers from New England. These settlers were of old Yankee stock, that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who had founded and settled New England in the 1600s. A group of settlers from Pittsfield, Massachusetts headed west and settled this region of Illinois in 1820. When they arrived the area was a virgin wilderness, they constructed farms, roads and government buildings. Pittsfield was home to John Hay, Lincoln's personal secretary, ambassador to England under President William McKinley, later Secretary of State for Theodore Roosevelt and creator of the Open Door Policy. As county seat, the town was one of the various places in central Illinois where Abraham Lincoln practiced law as part of the circuit court, working on 34 cases between 1839 and 1852. One local newspaper, now known as the Pike Press, was then owned by another of Lincoln's future secretaries, John Nicolay, and featured an editorial containing one of the first known suggestions of Lincoln as the Republican nominee for the presidency.
Pittsfield is the self-proclaimed "Pork Capital" of the Midwest, owing to the long history of pork production in the region, which fed into the large meat-packing industry of Chicago. Though agriculture in the region is no longer so dependent on pork, the town still hosts a yearly "Pig Days" festival.
The local high school football team, the Saukees, still holds the record for longest winning streak in the state. Starting with their season opening 6-0 win over North Greene in 1966, the Pittsfield Saukees reeled off 64 consecutive wins, which included 15 straight shutouts between 1969 and 1971. The streak extended all the way through to the second game of the 1973 season, when Pittsfield dropped a 12-0 decision to Winchester, Illinois.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Pittsfield IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Schools. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Pittsfield IL.
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