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What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide 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 start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Alabaster AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Alabaster AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Alabaster AL area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Alabaster medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Alabaster AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's essential that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.