Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Anchorage Alaska with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Alaska employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Alaska accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program'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. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one 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. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Alaska colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Alaska health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Anchorage healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Alaska and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? 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 choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage Alaska, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.