How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Bloomingdale Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bloomingdale IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Bloomingdale IL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bloomingdale IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 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 normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. 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 option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Bloomingdale IL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Bloomingdale IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Bloomingdale IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Bloomingdale IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
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 obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Bloomingdale IL area medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Bloomingdale health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bloomingdale IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bloomingdale IL, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out 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 Bloomingdale Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bloomingdale IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bloomingdale is one of the earliest villages settled in what is now DuPage County. The Meacham family settled here in 1833, and by the end of the following year, 12 to 15 families had settled in the locality. It was originally named Meacham's Grove. The community was served by the Chicago-Galena Highway, modern day Lake Street. It became an important stop for stage coaches and westward travelers. Originally a Cook County settlement, it was annexed by DuPage County in 1839. The northern part of the village wanted to develop commercially while the southern part wished to remain a farming community. In 1923, the village split to accommodate this—the northern portion of the town was incorporated as Roselle. From 1950 to 1980, the population increased from 338 to 12,659.
Stratford Square Mall, located at Springfield Road and Schick Road, is the largest of Bloomingdale's shopping centers. The indoor, landscaped mall contains three major department stores and more than 150 specialty shops and restaurants with three vacant anchors, one of which will become a supermarket. Also, Old Town Bloomingdale, at the intersection of Lake Street and Bloomingdale Road, is a collection of small businesses and shops located in restored buildings at the original site of the village's first settlement.
According to the 2010 census, Bloomingdale has a total area of 7.04 square miles (18.23 km2), of which 6.78 square miles (17.56 km2) (or 96.31%) is land and 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2) (or 3.69%) is water.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Bloomingdale IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make 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 ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bloomingdale IL.
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