How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training in Des Plaines Illinois
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Des Plaines IL, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Des Plaines IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses 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
- 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 general support during exams and procedures
Although Des Plaines IL medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Illinois law, some elect 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 Training and Certification
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Des Plaines IL employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with 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 training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Des Plaines IL employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in regional Illinois health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Des Plaines IL is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Des Plaines IL or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing Illinois 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Des Plaines IL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Des Plaines IL area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Des Plaines IL area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Illinois medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Des Plaines IL medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the Des Plaines IL area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Des Plaines IL area to experience 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 college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Des Plaines IL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Des Plaines IL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin 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 right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Des Plaines IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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