Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, 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 nearest to Florence Alabama with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible 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, a number of prospective Alabama employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? Most of the Alabama accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get 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 more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Alabama colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Alabama medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Florence healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Alabama and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence Alabama, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.