Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Juneau Alaska with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm 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 approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Alaska employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of Alaska accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on 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 evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Alaska colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Alaska medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Juneau healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in Alaska and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau Alaska, 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 might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.