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What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Talladega AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Talladega AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Talladega AL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Talladega healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Talladega AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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