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What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fairbanks AK with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Fairbanks AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Fairbanks AK area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Fairbanks health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Fairbanks AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? 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 provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

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