How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Shelbyville Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Shelbyville IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students start by checking out 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, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Shelbyville IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. 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 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 many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams 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 attain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Shelbyville IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element 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.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Shelbyville IL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Shelbyville IL medical employers just will not employ 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Shelbyville IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school 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 plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school 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 often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Shelbyville IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Shelbyville IL area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Shelbyville healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Shelbyville IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience 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 working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Shelbyville IL, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Shelbyville Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Shelbyville IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Shelbyville is a city in Shelby County, Illinois, along the Kaskaskia River. As of the 2010 census, the population was at 4,700. It is the county seat of Shelby County. HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, located in town, is the county's only hospital. Shelbyville's sister city is Okuwa Village, Japan.
According to the 2010 census, Shelbyville has a total area of 4.016 square miles (10.40 km2), of which 3.83 square miles (9.92 km2) (or 95.37%) is land and 0.186 square miles (0.48 km2) (or 4.63%) is water.
Shelbyville was founded in 1827 and named in honor of Isaac Shelby, hero of the Revolutionary War and Governor of Kentucky. The history of Shelbyville begins with Barnett Bone, a Tennessean who, in 1835, built a log cabin along the Kaskaskia River. His cabin eventually became the county courthouse. The first businesses were blacksmith shops, a general store and stage coach stop, and a grist mill.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Shelbyville IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate 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 acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering 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, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as 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 Medical Assistant Training Online. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Shelbyville IL.
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