Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Alameda California with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective California employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with California medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Alameda health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in California and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda California, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.