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What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Lake Havasu City AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lake Havasu City AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lake Havasu City AZ area medical providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Lake Havasu City medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program 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 working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.