Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Bakersfield California with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective California employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with California health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Bakersfield healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in California and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield California, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.