How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Chatham Illinois
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chatham IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Chatham IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Training
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Chatham IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have the 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Chatham IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Chatham IL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Chatham IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Chatham IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
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 exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Chatham IL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Chatham healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Chatham IL area and ask 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chatham 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 need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Chatham Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Chatham IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Chatham is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. It is located 2.8 miles south of Springfield and has a retail trade area that extends into four other municipalities, including Springfield. The population was 11,500 as of the 2010 census and estimated to be 11,946 as of 2012. The village lies along the original alignment of historic U.S. Route 66 (Illinois Route 4).
Chatham is located at 39°40′22″N 89°41′54″W / 39.67278°N 89.69833°W / 39.67278; -89.69833 (39.672899, -89.698385). According to the 2010 census, Chatham has a total area of 5.722 square miles (14.82 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.81 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, the racial makeup of the village was 93.57% White, 2.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.85% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Chatham IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Is A Certified Medical Assistant. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Chatham IL.
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