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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Pelham AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Pelham AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting 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 one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Pelham AL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Pelham health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pelham AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms 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 Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.