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What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Madison AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Madison AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, 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 assess the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Madison AL area medical care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Madison healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Madison 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 an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

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