Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Banning California with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective California 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 California accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, 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 assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with California medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Banning health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in California and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Banning California, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.