How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Decatur Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Decatur IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose 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 program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Decatur IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers 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 practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Decatur IL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Decatur IL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Decatur IL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Decatur IL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Decatur IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Decatur IL area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Decatur health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Decatur IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large 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 likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
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 essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur IL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy 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 Decatur Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Decatur IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2017, the city's estimated population was 72,124.
The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.
Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228). Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Decatur IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Decatur IL.
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