Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, 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 covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Bell California with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start 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 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective California employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting 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 means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the California colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with California health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Bell 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 may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in California and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can 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 offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bell California, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any 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 because of work, illness or family issues.