If you’re looking for a career that is in demand, consider becoming a medical assistant. Before you can begin working in this rewarding career, you have to get the proper training. That means attending and graduating from a medical assistant program. Don’t just sign up for the first program that is offered, though, do some research before you decide to take the plunge. Not sure where to begin? A good place to start is by asking questions. Here are the top five questions every prospective student should ask before applying for a medical assistant program.
Is the Program Accredited?
This is, by far, the most important question to pose to any medical assistant program. If a program is not accredited, graduates will not be allowed to take the Certified Medical Assistant exam. Two main bodies accredit medical assistant programs, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). What is accreditation? It’s a means by which programs are measured for the quality of the education and training that they provide. In the case of medical assistant programs, accreditation is determined by health-care professionals who are charged with assuring that graduates from the program are both prepared and qualified to perform their duties.
What Is the Cost of the Program?
One of the major factors that people consider with any educational program is the price. Keep in mind that you’ll not only have to pay for the classes that you take, but you will also have to buy books and other supplies. Ask for a detailed list of all the anticipated expenses so that you aren’t surprised when you see your bill. Although it is important to understand how much you will have to pay, the cost of a medical assistant program should not scare you off. In some cases, you can make arrangements to make payments to lessen the load on you. If you’re unable to pay for the program out-of-pocket, ask about financial aid options available to you.
Does the Program Include Hands-On Training?
Becoming a medical assistant requires a lot of studying and hard work. But, the truth is, you can only learn a limited amount by studying text books and completing in-class assignments. To fully appreciate the work that you’ll encounter once you’re working as a medical assistant, you need to be exposed to it. Although many programs claim to offer hands-on training, the meaning of that can vary widely from program to program. Talk to the program director or adviser about the setup of the program to find out when, during the training, you’ll begin to encounter the hands-on aspect of your training.
Are There Internships or Externships Available?
Some medical assistant programs are offered through established medical facilities, while others are stand-alone training programs. Choose a program that guarantees students the ability to participate in either an internship or externship type of setting. In either situation, it’s important to be able to work side-by-side with other health care professionals to learn directly from them. You’ll have the chance to ask them questions about the job, and get valuable advice about what you should and should not do. In addition, they’ll be powerful allies, providing support and references for you when you are ready to enter the workforce.
What Is The Job Placement Rate of Graduates?
Finally, ask about job placement services that are offered by the school or institution for graduates as well as the employment rates they achieve. Seriously consider any program that has a 70% or higher graduate employment rate since this shows that they are serious about helping students succeed. On the other hand, if they do not offer this service, it’s definitely a red flag, since it may speak to the quality of the training or the reputation of the program. A good training program will not only assist students in finding a job after graduation, but they’ll provide on-going support as well. It’s a great idea to speak to former students about their experience with job placement, if possible, so you’ll know what to expect when the time comes.
If you’re seeking a good medical assistant program, or if you have any questions about becoming a medical assistant, please contact us. We understand the importance of choosing the right program and we’ll be happy to lend a helping hand to help you.