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What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Oxford AL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 approved agencies 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Oxford AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Oxford AL area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Oxford health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Oxford AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's important that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.