How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Galena Illinois
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Galena IL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of future 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 location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Galena IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities 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 rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Galena IL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical 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 clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Galena IL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Galena IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Galena IL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Galena IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever 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 Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Galena IL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Galena health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Galena IL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Galena IL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training 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 issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Galena Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Galena IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Galena is the largest city in and the county seat of Jo Daviess County, Illinois, with a population of 3,429 at the 2010 census. A 581-acre (235 ha) section of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Galena Historic District. The city is named for the mineral galena, which was mined by Native Americans in the area for over a thousand years. Owing to these deposits, Galena was the site of the first major mineral rush in the United States. By 1828, the population was estimated at 10,000, rivaling the population of Chicago at the time. The city emerged as the largest steamboat hub on the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. Galena was the home of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War generals. Today, the city is a tourist destination known for its history, architecture, and resorts.
The city is named for galena, the natural form of lead sulfide (PbS) and the most important lead ore.Native Americans mined the ore for use in burial rituals. The Havana Hopewell first traded galena in the area during the Middle Woodland period (c. 1–400 CE). However, the use of galena in the Havana territory is uncertain; very little has been identified in burial mounds. During the Mississippian period (900–1500 CE), galena saw use as body paint.
The French, probably via contact with the Sioux, first noted lead deposits in the Upper Mississippi Valley in 1658. A 1703 French map identified the northwestern Illinois area as mines de plumb. Northwestern Illinois was inhabited by Sac and Fox when the French arrived. In the 1690s, French trappers discovered the area and began mining the lead. However, conflicts with the Sioux prevented large-scale mining until Julien Dubuque's Mines opened across the river in 1788.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant College Galena IL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes Near Me. 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Galena IL.
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