How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Winfield Illinois
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Winfield IL, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Winfield IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Winfield IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Winfield IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Winfield IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded 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 be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Winfield IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Winfield IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously 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 just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Winfield IL area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Winfield medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Winfield IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winfield IL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask 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 Winfield Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Winfield IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Winfield is an incorporated village located in Milton and Winfield Townships, DuPage County, Illinois, United States. The population was 8,718 at the 2000 census and as of 2016 the population was 9,492.
Winfield is home to Central DuPage Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the Chicago suburbs. Winfield has a Metra station on the Union Pacific/West Line, which provides regular commuter rail service to Chicago. Attractions adjacent to Winfield include the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Kline Creek Farm, a living history farm located on the west side of County Farm Road between Geneva and St. Charles Roads; and Cantigny, which includes public gardens, museums, golf courses, picnic grounds and hiking trails. Cantigny is located on the east side of Winfield Road, just south of Illinois Route 38, also known as Roosevelt Road. Winfield also enjoys parks and recreational services provided by the Winfield Park District. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County also owns and operates several other open space areas surrounding Winfield. Winfield is considered to be one of the top ten safest towns in Illinois.
The Village of Winfield was incorporated as a village in 1921, but has roots from the 1830s, originally known as Gary's Mill after early settler Eurastus Gary, and later, Fredricksburg, owing to a significant German-speaking population. In the late 1800s, the settlement’s name was changed again to Winfield after the war hero Winfield Scott.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Winfield IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal 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 get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing 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, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Requirements. 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Winfield IL.
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