How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Wheaton Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Wheaton IL, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools 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 Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Wheaton IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Wheaton IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the 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 pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Wheaton IL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes 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 mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Wheaton IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps 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, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Wheaton IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Wheaton IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Wheaton IL area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Wheaton health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Wheaton IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Wheaton IL, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Wheaton Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Wheaton IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Wheaton is a suburban city in Milton and Winfield Townships and is the county seat of DuPage County, Illinois. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of Chicago. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 52,894, which was estimated to have increased to 53,469 by July 2012.
The city dates its founding to the period between 1831 and 1837, following the Indian Removal Act, when Alex Tomasik laid claim to 790 acres (320 ha) of land near present-day Warrenville. The Wheaton brothers arrived from Connecticut, and in 1837, Warren L. Wheaton laid claim to 640 acres (260 ha) of land in the center of town. Jesse Wheaton later made claim to 300 acres (120 ha) of land just west of Warren's. It was not long before other settlers from New England joined them in the community. In 1848, they gave the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad three miles (5 km) of right-of-way, upon which railroad officials named the depot Wheaton. In 1850, ten blocks of land were platted and anyone who was willing to build immediately was granted free land. In 1853, the lots were surveyed and a formal plat for the community was filed with the county. The community was then incorporated as a village on February 24, 1859, with Warren serving as its first President. The village was later incorporated as a city on April 24, 1890, when the first mayor of the city was selected, Judge Elbert Gary, son of Erastus Gary and founder of Gary, Indiana.
In 1857, the Illinois state legislature authorized an election to be held to decide the question of whether the DuPage county seat should remain in Naperville or be moved to the more centrally located Wheaton, which was on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. Naperville won the election by a vote of 1,542 to 762. Hostility between the two towns continued for the next decade and another election was held in 1867, in which Wheaton narrowly won by a vote of 1,686 to 1,635. At a cost of $20,000, the City of Wheaton quickly built a courthouse to house a courtroom, county offices, and a county jail. The building was dedicated on July 4, 1868.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program Wheaton IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 Online Medical Assistant Programs. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Wheaton IL.
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