How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Tremont Illinois
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Tremont IL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most prospective students start by researching 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 factors as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Tremont IL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While Tremont IL medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Illinois law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Education and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Tremont IL employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Tremont IL employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for students 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 alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in local Illinois medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Tremont IL is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program options, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Tremont IL or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing Illinois schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 allowed 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 previously mentioned, a number of potential Tremont IL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Tremont IL area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes 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, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Tremont IL area schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Illinois medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Tremont IL health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Tremont IL area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school in the Tremont IL area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Tremont IL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Tremont IL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide 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 life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Tremont IL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask candidates is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Some Cities in Illinois That May Be Of Interest