How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Plainfield Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Plainfield IL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Plainfield IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate 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 support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Plainfield 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 essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided 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 practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Plainfield IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Plainfield 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 perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Plainfield IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Plainfield IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Plainfield IL area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Plainfield medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking 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 Plainfield IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can 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 provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Plainfield IL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Plainfield Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Plainfield IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The village includes land in Plainfield and Wheatland townships. Part of Plainfield is located in Kendall County (Na-Au-Say and Oswego townships). With the growth in the Chicago suburbs in the 1990s and 2000s, the village has seen a population increase, from 4,500 in 1990 to 28,000 in 2000 to more than 37,000 in 2007. It has the neighboring cities of Naperville and Joliet.
The village has established a community Preservation Commission and historic preservation ordinance. It is the home of the Lake Renwick Preserve, a county forest preserve used for birdwatching and other activities. Located south to Village Hall is Settler's Park, that includes lake, war monument, open space, and more. During the summers, Settler's Park brings concerts to the villagers of Plainfield, Illinois.
The area was called Walkers' Grove until it was platted as Plainfield in 1841. It was originally settled by a large community of Potawatomi, and the land was later bequeathed to the United States as part of the Treaty of St. Louis (1816) with the Council of the Three Fires. Indian Boundary Road aligns with the western border of the tract of land originally ceded.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Plainfield IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Where Can I Get My Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Plainfield IL.
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