Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind 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 evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Huntsville Alabama with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Alabama employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Alabama accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Alabama colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Alabama health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Huntsville health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in Alabama and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests 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 individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville Alabama, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.