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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Selma AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive 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 Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Selma AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program'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. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Selma AL area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Selma health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Selma AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.