How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Steward Illinois
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Steward IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Steward IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying 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 examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Steward IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Steward IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Steward IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Steward IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Steward IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Steward IL area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Steward health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Steward IL area and find out 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 large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere 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 working full time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Steward IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Steward Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Steward IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Steward, Illinois, was named for Wesley Steward, who in 1855 came to this area in Alto Township to settle the land owned by his father, Marcus Steward. John Grimes built the first house in Alto Township in Plum Thicket in 1847, located east on the outskirts of the village as it is today. In 1861, Mr. Steward married and built the first farm house in the location of Steward, which is still standing. The town is located in the west central part of Alto Township and the northeast part of Lee County. Mr. Steward was influential in getting the Chicago and Iowa Railroad, now known as the Burlington Northern, through the township extending from Hinckley, Illinois to Rochelle, Illinois completed in 1870. The Village Hall on Main Street is one of the oldest buildings in existence and the jail cells bought in 1903 and housed in the building are still one of the few reminders of the early days (not used). In 1872 Mr. Steward built the first elevator at the east end of Main Street run by steam. The history of the elevators in Steward over the years is a story in itself. The first house in Steward after the town's formation is on John Street, also standing today, built in 1872.
The railroad offices and warehouse were in Wesley Steward's barn until 1871, when the first depot was then built. It is said to have burned down in 1894. The present depot, no longer in use by the Burlington Northern and in the process of being salvaged by a group in interested citizens of the village as a historical landmark, a museum, library, and social meeting place for anyone in the community, was built in 1896. This project “The Steward Illinois Depot Project, Inc.” was being projected as a Bicentennial venture during the 1976 year. In 1902 Steward was selected as the junctional point for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company as they recognized the need for a railroad to run south out of Rockford, Illinois. The Milwaukee depot and switch tower for both railroads were on the northwest edge of town.
The first businesses were a restaurant and general merchandise store built in 1871. By the early 1900s, business houses were located on both sides of Main Street with a steady growth and expansion until the depression days when the town could then gradually see a decline in the businesses. The charter for the First National Bank of Steward was signed and issued on December 18, 1902. A new building was erected and business started January 2, 1903 and continued till 1933. The first Post Office was established at Heaton Aug. 31, 1871 and located in the Steward depot. It was relocated in Steward April 12, 1876. Today it is located in the old bank building on Main Street. By 1976, the village became mostly a residential community with the exception of the Post Office.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Steward 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 planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering 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, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, 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 Information. But irrespective of the kind 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Steward IL.
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