How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Barrington Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Barrington IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Barrington IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose 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 Courses
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Barrington IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals 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 junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Barrington IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Barrington IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Barrington IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Barrington IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn 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 want 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. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Barrington IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Barrington health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Barrington IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Barrington IL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Barrington Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Barrington IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Barrington is an affluent suburban village in Cook County and Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,327 at the 2010 census. Located approximately 32 miles (51 km) northwest of Chicago, the area features wetlands, forest preserves, parks, and horse trails in a country-suburban setting.
Barrington is part of the Chicago metropolitan area and serves as the hub of activity for the surrounding 90-square-mile (230 km2) region which consists of six independent villages including North Barrington, South Barrington, Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington and Tower Lakes, as well as small portions of Carpentersville, Deer Park, Hoffman Estates, and Inverness. The village's motto is "a great place to live, work, and play!"
The original settlers of the Barrington area were the indigenous peoples of the Native American Prairie Potawatomi or Mascoutin tribes, which later divided into the Potawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa tribes. Many local roads still in use today, including Algonquin Road, Rand Road, Higgins Road, and St. Charles Road, were originally Native American trails. For many years, Barrington was considered part of the Northwest Territory, then the Illinois Territory.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Barrington IL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info 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, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 3 Month Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget 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 ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Barrington IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois
Business Results 1 - 10 of 509