How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Atlanta Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Atlanta IL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential 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 cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Atlanta IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type 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 working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Atlanta IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Atlanta IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Atlanta IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Atlanta IL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Atlanta IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose 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 choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Atlanta IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Atlanta medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Atlanta IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction 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 one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment 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 working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atlanta IL, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Atlanta Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Atlanta IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
According to the 2010 census, Atlanta has a total area of 1.268 square miles (3.28 km2), of which 1.26 square miles (3.26 km2) (or 99.37%) is land and 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.63%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,649 people, 694 households, and 469 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,310 people per square mile (505/km²). There were 734 housing units at an average density of 583.3 per square mile (224.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.58% White, 0.12% Native American, 0.12% from other races, and 0.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.
There were 694 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Atlanta IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long To Get Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can 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 Atlanta IL.
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