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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Athens AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Athens AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Athens AL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Athens health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Athens AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.