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Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Anchorage AK with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Anchorage AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out 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 enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Anchorage AK area medical providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Anchorage healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Anchorage AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.