Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Birmingham Alabama with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Alabama employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Alabama accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Alabama colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Alabama health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Birmingham health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in Alabama and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham Alabama, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.