How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Collinsville Illinois
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Collinsville IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” 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 offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Collinsville IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with giving direct assistance 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 possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect to specialize in a specific 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 Education
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Collinsville IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Collinsville IL area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Collinsville IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Collinsville IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Collinsville IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Collinsville IL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Collinsville medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Collinsville IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher 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 wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Collinsville IL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Collinsville Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Collinsville IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,579, an increase from 24,707 in 2000. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area. It is the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower, the world's largest ketchup bottle, and is the world's horseradish capital.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, extends beyond the boundaries of the city toward the west. This prehistoric urban complex is estimated to have had a population of thousands at its peak, long before European exploration in the area. Monks Mound, the largest man-made earthwork in North America, is part of this complex.
Collinsville is located at 38°40′28″N 89°59′43″W / 38.67444°N 89.99528°W / 38.67444; -89.99528 (38.674398, -89.995402), approximately 12 miles due east of St Louis. The 90W longitude line passes through Collinsville.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Collinsville IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Collinsville IL.
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