Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Clovis California with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective California employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? The majority of California accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn 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 instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the California colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with California medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Clovis medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Clovis California, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.