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Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Huntsville AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Huntsville AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. 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 Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Huntsville AL area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Huntsville healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Huntsville AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

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