How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near River Forest Illinois
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near River Forest IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the River Forest IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many River Forest 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 basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have 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 certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in River Forest IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible River Forest IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to River Forest IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential River Forest 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 design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with River Forest IL area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the River Forest health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing 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 interviewing offer job placement assistance in the River Forest IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near River Forest IL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, 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 River Forest Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the River Forest IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
River Forest, Illinois
River Forest is a suburban village adjacent to Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, U.S. Two universities make their home in River Forest, Dominican University and Concordia University Chicago. The village is closely tied to the larger neighboring community of Oak Park. There are significant architectural designs located in River Forest such as the Winslow House by Frank Lloyd Wright. The population of the village was 11,172 at the 2010 census.
According to the 2010 census, River Forest has a total area of 2.482 square miles (6.43 km2), of which 2.48 square miles (6.42 km2) (or 99.92%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.08%) is water.
There are two public elementary schools, Lincoln Elementary School and Willard Elementary School, and one public middle school, Roosevelt Middle School. The elementary and middle schools are in River Forest Public Schools District 90. River Forest shares a high school with Oak Park, known as Oak Park and River Forest High School, located in Oak Park.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course River Forest IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on 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 How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can 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 River Forest IL.
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