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What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fairhope AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Fairhope AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of 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 planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Fairhope AL area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Fairhope medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Fairhope AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to experience 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 on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.