Choosing the right medical assistant school is one of the most important career decisions you will make in your life. The school you choose should provide quality education and training, prepare you for your future in the profession, and ideally, it should offer you assistance in gaining employment after you have completed the program.
In order to help you make a well-informed decision about the best medical assistant program, ask the following questions about every school you are considering:
1. Does the school offer the type of certificate or degree I am seeking?
There are advantages and disadvantages to earning a certificate or an Associate Degree. Ask if the school has a counselor that can help you to decide which course of study is best for you.
2. Is the program accredited?
If you want to be a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), you will need to take and pass the CMA exam. Thus, you will need to enroll in a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If the school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be able to take the CMA exam.
3. How will your program prepare me to pass the CMA exam?
A model CMA program provides courses in patient relations, first aid, lab and clinical procedures, medical terminology, office practices, and pharmacology. Ask how many of their students pass the CMA exam, and how their scores compare to the national average.
Ask how many of their graduates find full-time work as medical assistants after graduation. A quality school will place 70% or more of their graduates.
4. What levels of experience do the teachers have?
With any profession, it is best to have an experienced professional as a teacher, and it is even more beneficial in the medical field. The insights and knowledge that they can share from their real-world experiences are priceless.
5. Does the program provide hands-on training?
Hands-on training is essential to learning the skills required in the profession. Ask how much time is allotted for hands-on training. If it is possible, ask a current student what he or she thinks about the training.
6. Does the program provide an internship?
Internships are crucial elements for a medical assistant program. These are opportunities to work in a medical facility alongside professional staff and doctors. They can later provide you with references (and sometimes jobs) after graduation.
7. Does the school have a Career Placement office?
If they do, visit the center and talk to the director of the office. Ask about the services they provide. A quality career center will offer more than a bulletin board and brochures.
They should assist you with your resume and offer services to prepare you for job interviews. It is even better if they will assist with job sources and help you to arrange interviews.
8. Who will assist you if class or teacher problems arise?
It is very important that you feel comfortable at your school and that there are support services available should you need them. Ask if there are tutoring services, and if there is anyone available to assist you with acquiring financial aid (if necessary).
Ask who you can speak to if you have any difficulties with a teacher. Don’t be afraid to ask about how accessible the dean of the department or director of the program are to students.
Choosing the school for your medical assistant education is a big decision, but the answers to these questions will help you to narrow the field and choose the best school for your needs. Simply contact us if you have any more questions about the right medical assistant program for you.