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What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Decatur AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist 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 verify that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Decatur AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out 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 evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Decatur AL area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Decatur healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Decatur AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.