Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Flagstaff Arizona with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 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 often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Arizona employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 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 take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Arizona colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Arizona medical providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Flagstaff healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Arizona and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention 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 possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff Arizona, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.