Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree Springfield IL

How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Springfield Illinois

Springfield IL medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Springfield 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 subsequently pick the best one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Springfield IL nursing home patientThe job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Springfield IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Springfield IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed 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 junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Classes

woman attending medical assistant school online in Springfield ILThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Springfield IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Springfield IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Springfield IL medical assistant programsPrior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Springfield IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Springfield IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways 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 Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Springfield IL area medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Springfield health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Springfield 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 a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Springfield IL, make certain that those times are offered. You might 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 may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Springfield Illinois?

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

Springfield, Illinois

Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population of 116,250 as of the 2010 U.S. Census makes it the state's sixth most populous city.[9] It is the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006,[4] with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County.[10]

Present-day Springfield was settled by European Americans in the late 1810s, around the time Illinois became a state. The most famous historic resident was Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 until 1861, when he went to the White House as President. Major tourist attractions include multiple sites connected with Lincoln including his presidential library and museum, his home, and his tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The capital is centrally located within the state. The city lies in a valley and plain near the Sangamon River. Lake Springfield, a large artificial lake owned by the City Water, Light & Power company (CWLP), supplies the city with recreation and drinking water. Weather is fairly typical for middle latitude locations, with hot summers and cold winters. Spring and summer weather is like that of most midwestern cities; severe thunderstorms may occur. Tornadoes hit the Springfield area in 1957 and 2006.

Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Springfield IL

Springfield IL medical assistant studentIt’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. 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 covered in this article, make sure that the program you select 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 Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Springfield IL.

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