Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Pine Bluff Arkansas with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Arkansas employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arkansas accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Arkansas colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Arkansas healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Pine Bluff medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching 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 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 may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it's important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pine Bluff Arkansas, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might 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 issues.