Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Conway Arkansas with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure 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 accepted organizations 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Arkansas employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arkansas accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. 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 instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select 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 one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Arkansas colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Arkansas healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Conway health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in Arkansas and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Conway Arkansas, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.