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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Anniston AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Anniston AL employers will not hire 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 must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Anniston AL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Anniston healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Anniston AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's important that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.