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Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Opelika AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Opelika AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Opelika AL area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Opelika healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Opelika AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might 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 prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Opelika AL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.