Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Fairbanks Alaska with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Alaska employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Alaska accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, 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 example, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Alaska colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Alaska medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Fairbanks 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 task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Alaska and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school to see 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 school while you continue working full-time, it's important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks Alaska, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.