How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Fairview Heights Illinois
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fairview Heights IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Fairview Heights IL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Fairview Heights IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to 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 certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Fairview Heights IL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Fairview Heights IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Fairview Heights IL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Fairview Heights IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Fairview Heights IL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Fairview Heights health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Fairview Heights IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates 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 can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairview Heights IL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Fairview Heights Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fairview Heights IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fairview Heights, Illinois
Fairview Heights is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,078 at the 2010 census. Fairview Heights is a dominant shopping center for Southwestern Illinois and includes numerous shopping plazas and the St. Clair Square mall.
According to the 2010 census, Fairview Heights has a total area of 11.497 square miles (29.78 km2), of which 11.42 square miles (29.58 km2) (or 99.33%) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.20 km2) (or 0.67%) is water.
French Village, Illinois is an unincorporated community (Class Code U4) located immediately west of Fairview Heights at 38°36′01″N 90°03′00″W / 38.600300°N 90.050100°W / 38.600300; -90.050100 (French Village, Illinois).
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Fairview Heights IL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant To Medical School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fairview Heights IL.
More Medical Locations in Illinois
Business Results 1 - 10 of 37