Medical Assistant Certification West Chicago IL

How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near West Chicago Illinois

West Chicago IL medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Chicago IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several 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 role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with West Chicago IL nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the West Chicago IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run 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 giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of West Chicago IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in West Chicago ILThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in West Chicago IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible West Chicago IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained 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 take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask West Chicago IL medical assistant programsPrior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to West Chicago IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential West Chicago IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with West Chicago IL area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the West Chicago health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the West Chicago IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program 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 wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Chicago IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Chicago Illinois?

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

West Chicago, Illinois

West Chicago is a city in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. The population was 27,086 at the 2010 census. It was formerly named Junction and later Turner, after its founder, John B. Turner, president of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad (G&CU) in 1855.[5] The city was initially established around the first junction of railroad lines in Illinois,[6] and today is still served by the Union Pacific / West Metra service via West Chicago station.

According to the 2010 census, West Chicago has a total area of 15.141 square miles (39.22 km2), of which 14.8 square miles (38.33 km2) (or 97.75%) is land and 0.341 square miles (0.88 km2) (or 2.25%) is water.[8]

Erastus Gary, of Pomfret, Connecticut homesteaded 760 acres (310 ha) on the banks of the DuPage River, just south of West Chicago's present day city limits in the 1830s. His son became "Judge" Elbert Henry Gary, the first CEO of America's first billion-dollar corporation, U.S. Steel, and for whom Gary, Indiana, is named. Gary also helped bring brothers Jesse and Warren Wheaton, founders of nearby Wheaton, Illinois, the DuPage County seat, from Connecticut to the Midwest. A pioneer cemetery on the old Gary Homestead, where a sawmill had been built by the Garys, just north of Gary's Mill Road, and north of its terminus at Illinois Route 59, was built over with apartment buildings in the 1960s.

Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course West Chicago IL

West Chicago IL medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in West Chicago IL.

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