Certified Medical Assistant Career Pontiac IL

How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Pontiac Illinois

Pontiac IL medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pontiac IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 critical issues as well. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Pontiac IL nursing home patientThe duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Pontiac IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Education

Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Pontiac IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools

woman attending medical assistant school online in Pontiac ILThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Pontiac IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Pontiac IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps 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, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Pontiac IL medical assistant programsPrior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose 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 begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Pontiac IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Pontiac IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Pontiac IL area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Pontiac healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Pontiac IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pontiac IL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pontiac Illinois?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pontiac IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Pontiac, Illinois

Pontiac is a city in Livingston County, Illinois, United States. The population was 11,931 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Livingston County.[3] The town is also the setting of the 1984 movie, Grandview, U.S.A.

According to the 2010 census, Pontiac has a total area of 7.87 square miles (20.38 km2), of which 7.73 square miles (20.02 km2) (or 98.22%) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) (or 1.78%) is water.[4]

Pontiac lies on the Vermilion River. On December 4, 1982, Pontiac had the worst flood in the town's history, cresting at 19.16 feet. The most recent flooding occurred on January 9, 2008, cresting at 18.85 feet, the second worst in the town history.[5]

Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Pontiac IL

Pontiac IL medical assistant studentIt’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as 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 Certified Medical Assistant Career. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Pontiac IL.

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