Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Arizona with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Arizona employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Rate? The majority of Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Arizona schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Arizona healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in Arizona and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Arizona, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will 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.