How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Steger Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Steger IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Steger IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain 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
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Steger IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical 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 involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the 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 to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Steger IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Steger IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Steger IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Steger IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn 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 college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select 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 choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Steger IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Steger health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Steger IL area and ask 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 healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Steger IL, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Steger Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Steger IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Steger is a village that straddles the border which separates Cook County and Will County, Illinois (Steger Road is the border line). It is 35 miles (56 km) south of Chicago and had a population at the 2010 census of 9,570.
Steger was founded in 1891 by Chicago real estate interests and initially named Columbia Heights in honor of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition which the City of Chicago had been preparing to host since 1889. The character, financial fortunes and even the name of the community were set immediately thereafter when John Valentine Steger began to build a piano factory there on a parcel of land south of Chicago Heights that was sited immediately west of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad tracks and bordered by the tracks, Vincennes Avenue (now Chicago Road) and 33rd and 34th Streets. This first building of the complex replaced Steger's original factory which had adjoined his showrooms at Wabash Avenue and Jackson Boulevard in downtown Chicago, which had a capacity of only two pianos per week. This new building was three stories tall, 40 x 225 and designed by the Chicago architectural firm Mayo and Curry to accommodate 200 workers. By 1904 the factory at Steger had grown to cover twenty-three acres and had a capacity of sixteen thousand pianos per year. A piano by the company was displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition, and the instrument was commented on as follows:
The company built exceptionally high quality pianos under several names and in a wide range of prices. They are quite rare today. For a time after 1896, Steger & Sons shared this block with another piano factory which produced instruments for the Smith and Nixon Piano Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati. For years after the community officially changed its name in 1896, Smith and Nixon continued to use the name Columbia Heights when referring to the location of its factory in Illinois. Smith and Nixon were gone from the area by 1911.
Select the Right Medical Assistant College Steger IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Trade School. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Steger IL.
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