How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Putnam Illinois
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Putnam IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Putnam IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available 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
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Putnam IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Putnam IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Putnam IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply 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 offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Putnam IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Putnam IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Putnam IL area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Putnam healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Putnam IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention 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 teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Putnam IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Putnam Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Putnam IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Putnam County, Illinois
Putnam County is the least extensive county in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,006. The county seat is Hennepin. The county was formed in 1825 out of Fulton County and named after Israel Putnam, who was a general in the American Revolution.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 172 square miles (450 km2), of which 160 square miles (410 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (7.0%) is water. It is the smallest county in Illinois by area.
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Hennepin have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −30 °F (−34 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.14 inches (29 mm) in January to 4.32 inches (110 mm) in August.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Putnam IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Does A Medical Assistant Do. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Putnam IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois