How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Catlin Illinois
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Catlin IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Catlin IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible 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 specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Catlin IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 classes. 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 applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Catlin IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Catlin 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). 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 also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Catlin IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, 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 College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select 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 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Catlin IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Catlin IL area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Catlin health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Catlin IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone 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 college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Catlin IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Catlin Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Catlin IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Catlin is a village in Vermilion County, Illinois, United States. It is part of the Danville, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,087 at the 2000 census, and 2,086 in 2009. Catlin is the hometown of Illinois State Representative Chad Hays, who represents the 104th Representative District of Illinois.
This settlement was originally called Butler's Point when James Butler settled here in 1820. He started a cemetery in 1822, known as "God's Acre" as well as Butler Cemetery; this is reputed to be the earliest cemetery in the county. The first school here was built in 1827 and was also used as a church.
According to the 2010 census, Catlin has a total area of 0.843 square miles (2.18 km2), of which 0.84 square miles (2.18 km2) (or 99.64%) is land and 0.003 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.36%) is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Catlin IL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Catlin IL.
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