Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Fort Smith Arkansas with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Arkansas employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arkansas accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Arkansas schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Arkansas healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Fort Smith health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in Arkansas and ask 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 broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it's important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Smith Arkansas, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.