How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near South Pekin Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near South Pekin IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the South Pekin IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific 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 Training
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of South Pekin IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in South Pekin IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential South Pekin IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly 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, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to South Pekin IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective South Pekin IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with South Pekin IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the South Pekin medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the South Pekin IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near South Pekin IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near South Pekin Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the South Pekin IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
South Pekin, Illinois
South Pekin was incorporated on April 12, 1917, five miles south of Pekin in an area previously known as "McFadden Flats". The village is located in Sections 27 and 34 of Cincinnati Township, which was formed in 1850. South Pekin owes its origin to the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, as a railway station.
Settlement in the South Pekin area began in the 1820s with the first arrival of white settlers to what would soon become Tazewell County. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad made a series of corporate decisions that eventually led to the founding of the village. The railroad constructed its line from Nelson, Illinois to Peoria in 1901. In 1904, C&NW discovered a large coalfield near Staunton in Macoupin County. A few years later, C&NW decided to build a line of access to the coal field and carry freight between Chicago and St. Louis. By March 1912, the right of way had been purchased and construction was started. C&NW needed a water, refueling, and repair station midway on the new line. The first choice for the location of this new station was Green Valley, Illinois, but protests from residents there prompted a change of plans. A new location was chosen, and the railroad and its employees began to build the new station that became South Pekin. The first permanent resident, Al Casper arrived with his family on Christmas Day, 1912. As more families arrived, the railroad gave them boxcars to use as homes on a location that was known as McFadden Flats. The Village of South Pekin was incorporated on April 12, 1917.
The economic possibilities that came with the railroad caused business leaders in Pekin to be very interested to pull the switch yard closer and get the new "railroad people" with steady work and good pay in their town. Ultimately most employees opted to settle close to the yard which was already located in South Pekin. In addition to the numerous blue collar jobs the C&NW operation also brought management positions and erected a three story masonry office building (Demolished near the beginning of the 21st century). South Pekin was a home terminal for Chicago and Northwestern Railroad crews in the twentieth century. Trains were made up in the middle of the town in a "Kick" Yard. After the trains were put together, crews would get on the train and proceed south to East St. Louis or north to Nelson, where they would be relieved and allowed to sleep for the next tour of operation. The Chicago and Northwestern also maintained a bunkhouse in South Pekin where crews could stop for the night. In the 1970s train crews would go onward through Nelson and proceed to Proviso (a suburb of Chicago) or to Clinton, Iowa. At times there were as many as 20 + trains per day either made up at South Pekin or that went through South Pekin.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College South Pekin IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective 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 choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in South Pekin IL.
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