How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Cortland Illinois
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cortland IL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Cortland IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many 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 doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Cortland IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. 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 applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Cortland IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Cortland IL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Cortland IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you select 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 must complete 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Cortland IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get 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 get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Cortland IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Cortland healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Cortland IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cortland IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Cortland Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cortland IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cortland is an incorporated town in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,270 at the 2010 census, up from 2,066 in 2000. Because of its status as an incorporated town, Cortland has adopted the slogan, "The Third Largest Town in Illinois". Only the towns of Cicero and Normal are larger, in terms of population.
According to the 2010 census, Cortland has a total area of 3.638 square miles (9.42 km2), of which 3.63 square miles (9.40 km2) (or 99.78%) is land and 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.22%) is water. The town is located immediately east of the city of DeKalb and just south of the city of Sycamore.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,066 people, 701 households, and 553 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,176.3 people per square mile (453.2/km²). There were 723 housing units at an average density of 411.6 per square mile (158.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.11% White, 1.21% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.97% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.40% of the population.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Cortland IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example 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 Medical Assistant School Cost. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Cortland IL.
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