Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Cathedral City California with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective California employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with California medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Cathedral City health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in California and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Cathedral City California, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.