Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Tuscaloosa Alabama with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several 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 programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Alabama employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? The majority of Alabama accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Alabama schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Alabama medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Tuscaloosa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in Alabama and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment 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 important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa Alabama, confirm 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 all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.