How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Westmont Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Westmont IL, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by checking out 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 issues as well. You may decide to take a look at a few 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 relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Westmont IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments 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 specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available 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
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Westmont IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option 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 choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Westmont IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Westmont IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to 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 choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Westmont IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee 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 accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Westmont IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out 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 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 one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 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 about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Westmont IL area medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Westmont health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Westmont IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westmont IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Westmont Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Westmont IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Westmont is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. Westmont is a community of 5.03 square miles in area. Westmont had a 2000 population of 24,554, a partial special census was conducted 2007 resulting in a population of 26,211, and the census of 2010 put the population at 24,685. It is located approximately 18 miles (29 km) west of the Chicago Loop in the southeastern portion of DuPage County.
The area known as Westmont was inhabited by the Potawatami until the year 1833. After several failed attempts by the U.S. government to persuade the Native Americans to move from the area, in 1833, the Native Americans agreed under coercion to vacate their land for nominal payment.
The development of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, authorized by the State of Illinois in the 1820s but delayed in construction until the 1830s, contributed to Westmont's early growth. When the economic Panic of 1837 halted canal construction, many of the workers turned to farming, and agriculture became the major occupation, with produce sold in nearby Chicago. The area around Westmont became one of the most prosperous sections of the state.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Westmont IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Job Description. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Westmont IL.
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