Medical Assistant Overview Waukegan IL

How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Waukegan Illinois

Waukegan IL medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Waukegan IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Waukegan IL nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Waukegan IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt 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 Courses

Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Waukegan 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 two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare 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 comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

woman attending medical assistant school online in Waukegan ILThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Waukegan 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 receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Waukegan IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Waukegan IL medical assistant programsPrior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Waukegan IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, 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 approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Waukegan IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Waukegan IL area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Waukegan health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Waukegan IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction 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 practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Waukegan IL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Waukegan Illinois?

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

Waukegan, Illinois

Waukegan /wɔːˈkiːɡən/ is the largest city in and the county seat of Lake County, Illinois, United States.[1] It is part of the Chicago metropolitan area, located approximately 36 miles north of Downtown Chicago. As of the 2013 census estimate, Waukegan had a population of 88,826,[2] which makes it the ninth-largest city in Illinois by population. Waukegan is a blue collar town that formerly served as an important industrial hub in the Chicago metropolitan area.

The site of present-day Waukegan was recorded as Rivière du Vieux Fort ("Old Fort River") and Wakaygagh on a 1778 map by Thomas Hutchins. By the 1820s, the French name had become "Small Fort River" in English, and the settlement was known as "Little Fort". The name "Waukegance" and then "Waukegan" (meaning "little fort"; cf. Potawatomi wakaigin "fort" or "fortress") was created by John H. Kinzie and Solomon Juneau, and the new name was adopted on March 31, 1849.[8][9]

Waukegan had an abolitionist community dating to these early days. In 1853, residents commemorated the anniversary of emancipation of slaves in the British Empire with a meeting.[10] Waukegan arguably has the distinction of being the only place where Abraham Lincoln failed to finish a speech; when he campaigned in the town in 1860, a fire alarm rang, and the man soon-to-be president had his words interrupted.[11]

Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Waukegan IL

Waukegan IL medical assistant studentIt’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Overview. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Waukegan IL.

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