Best Medical Assistant Programs Stockton IL

How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Stockton Illinois

Stockton IL medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Stockton IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes 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 issues as well. You might decide to look into a few 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 complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Stockton IL nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Stockton IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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

In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Stockton IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

woman attending medical assistant school online in Stockton ILThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Stockton IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed 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 advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Stockton IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Stockton IL medical assistant programsBefore you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Stockton IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure 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 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Stockton IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Stockton IL area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Stockton health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Stockton IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Stockton 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 internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Stockton Illinois?

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

Stockton, Illinois

The village of Stockton is the youngest village in Jo Daviess County.[citation needed] It was established after the Minnesota Northwestern Railroad decided to build a station in Section 2 of Stockton Township in 1886, which through mergers later became named the Chicago Great Western Railway. The railroad tracks were removed in the early 1970s.[6]

In 1914, the Kraft Brothers opened a cheese factory in Stockton, and operated it until Kraft sold the facility in 1998.[8][9] This was the birthplace of the Kraft Corporation and the first cheese plant opened by J.L. Kraft.[10]

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 1,926 people, 831 households, and 521 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,260.2 people per square mile (874.9/km²). There were 894 housing units at an average density of 1,049.1 per square mile (406.1/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.69% White, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, and 0.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.

Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Stockton IL

Stockton IL medical assistant studentIt’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Best 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 online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Stockton IL.

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