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Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Muscle Shoals AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Muscle Shoals AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Muscle Shoals AL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Muscle Shoals medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Muscle Shoals AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical 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 may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.