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Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose 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 begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Rio Rico AZ with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Rio Rico AZ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Rio Rico AZ area medical providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Rio Rico medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Rio Rico AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good 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 instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Rio Rico AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.