Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Phoenix Arizona with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following 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 College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Arizona employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Arizona medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Phoenix healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in Arizona and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phoenix Arizona, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.