Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Altadena California with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential California employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the California accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn 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 obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials 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, although the average is about 1 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 trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the California schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with California health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Altadena healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in California and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Altadena California, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.