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Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Hoover AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Hoover AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Hoover AL area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Hoover medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Hoover AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.