How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Frankfort Illinois
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Frankfort IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Frankfort IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Frankfort 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 basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered 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 courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Frankfort IL area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Frankfort IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Frankfort IL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Frankfort IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Frankfort IL area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Frankfort healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Frankfort IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just 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 essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Frankfort IL, make sure 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. Additionally, find out what the protocol 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 Frankfort Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Frankfort IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Frankfort is a village in Will County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,782 at the 2010 census, up from 10,391 in 2000. According to Forbes.com, in 2007 the village ranked as the 36th fastest growing suburb in the United States.
The name "Frankfort" was taken from Frankfort Township as designated by the governing board of Will County. It was commonly known as "Frankfort Station" after the opening of the Joliet & Northern Indiana Railroad through the township in 1855, though the official plat of the community dated March 1855 shows the name as "Frankfort". Property deed abstracts and railroad documents also show that the name was always Frankfort. Local residents incorporated Frankfort as a village in 1879. It also has some reference to the major German city of Frankfurt.
First inhabited by Native Americans, including the Potawatomi and Sac and Fox tribes, Frankfort was used as a conduit between the Des Plaines and St. Joseph rivers. Originally, the area was part of the Virginia Territory before the French signed a treaty with Manitoqua, the Potawatomi chief, for land in the Prestwick area. The first pioneers came to Frankfort in the early 1830s by means of the Des Plaines River from the southwest and by wagon from the east along the Sauk Trail, a roadway that still exists today.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Frankfort IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Description. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Frankfort IL.
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