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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Daphne AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Daphne AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing 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 focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Daphne AL area medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Daphne health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Daphne AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it's imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, make sure 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 internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.