How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Geneseo Illinois
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Geneseo IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option 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 colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges 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 kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Geneseo IL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Illinois law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Geneseo IL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Geneseo IL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Geneseo IL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, 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 start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Geneseo IL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Geneseo IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Geneseo IL area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Geneseo health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Geneseo IL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care 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 can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Geneseo IL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Geneseo Illinois?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Geneseo IL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Geneseo is a city in Henry County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,586 at the 2010 census, up from 6,480 in 2000. Geneseo is 20 miles east of the Quad Cities, at the intersection of Interstate 80, U.S. Route 6 and Illinois Route 82.
Geneseo was founded as a Christian colony in 1836 by seven families of the Congregationalist denomination from Geneseo, New York and Bergen, New York seeking to establish a "church in the wilderness". Roderick R. Stewart, one of the city's founding members, named the town Geneseo after the settlers' town of origin in New York. The name "Geneseo" is a variation of the Iroquois word Genesee, meaning "shining valley" or "beautiful valley".
Planning for the colony began as early as 1829. In May 1836 the founding seven families of Geneseo sent an exploratory committee to survey the precise location of their new community in the Old Northwest. This group, known as the "New York Committee", or "New York Group" was composed of John C. Ward, Cromwell K. Bartlett, and Roderick R. Stewart. Advised at a meeting in Chicago by the future Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, the small committee rode by wagon and horseback to investigate the 2,000-acre tract. The transaction of the land was completed at a place called Brandenburg's Tavern in what is today Colona Township and purchased at a dollar and a quarter per acre.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant School Geneseo IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Geneseo IL.
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