How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Addison Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Addison IL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 also. You might want to take a look at 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 need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Addison IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Addison IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as 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 courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Addison IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Addison IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Addison IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Addison IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting 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 methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest 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 more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Addison IL area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Addison healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Addison IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness 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 college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Addison IL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Addison Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Addison IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The community itself was originally named Dunkley's Grove after the settler Hezekiah Dunklee, and was renamed after a town in England or Addison, New York.Adventureland amusement park was located in Addison (Lake and Medinah) during the 1960s and 1970s. The Addison Industrial District was the proposed location for the reconstruction of Comiskey Park in the late 1980s before this was voted down.
The Village of Addison lies on Salt Creek, a tributary of the Des Plaines River. Addison is located at 41°55′54″N 88°0′8″W / 41.93167°N 88.00222°W / 41.93167; -88.00222 (41.931573, −88.002221).
According to the 2010 census, Addison has a total area of 9.98 square miles (25.85 km2), of which 9.77 square miles (25.30 km2) (or 97.9%) is land and 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2) (or 2.1%) is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Addison IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare 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 prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Night Classes. But irrespective of the kind 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 supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Addison IL.
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