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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Birmingham AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Birmingham AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Birmingham AL area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Birmingham medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Birmingham AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.