Whether you’re fresh out of high school or seeking higher education to start a new career, choosing a medical assistant program is a significant responsibility. Many people narrow their search based on where they live, but the closest school may not be the best match for you. There are more relevant factors to consider, like financial aid, accreditation and admission requirements.
In this guide, we’ll explain the essential criteria to help you choose the best MA program for your specific needs.
Starting Your Search
Here are the first few steps you should take to compile a list of potential medical assistant schools.
1. Think About What Kind of Career You Want
The first step to finding the right school for you is figuring out what kind of health career you want. Medical assistants play vital roles in various settings, from physicians’ offices and hospitals to outpatient clinics and other healthcare facilities. If you have your heart set on a specific field, choose a program that offers work experience in that setting.
2. Find Accredited School
Accreditation is a review process that evaluates an educational program for strict quality standards. To earn academic accreditation, the school must demonstrate its current and ongoing efforts to maintain the criteria laid out by a reputable organization.
Attending an accredited medical assistant school isn’t a requirement, but it can help you get certification and better employment opportunities. For medical assistance programs, look for accreditation to ensure you’re eligible for a certification exam.
3. Check out Their Admission Requirements
Admission requirements vary depending on the school and the type of MA program you’re trying to enter. Check to make sure you’re eligible for all the programs you’re considering. Most medical assistant schools require the following:
- You must be 18 years or older.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED.
- Some programs also require a cognitive assessment, such as the Wonderlic Scholastic Exam.
What to Consider When Choosing a School
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential schools, you can dive in a little deeper to discover which ones fit your needs the best. Here are some critical questions to ask yourself while you’re trying to choose the right program for you.
How Long Is the Program?
If you’re eager to start a career helping others, medical assistant programs are relatively brief compared to other medical fields. You can complete most medical assistant programs within one year, depending on your experience, the schedule you choose and the type of training you receive.
The medical assistant school length includes a combination of credit hours in the classroom and externship hours in the field. Programs with more externship hours may take longer, but they can help you earn better employment opportunities.
If you plan to take an exam to earn your certification after graduation, it may take a few additional months before you’re ready to apply for jobs.
Does the Program Provide Adequate Training?
A thorough education serves as the foundation for a successful career as a medical assistant. A comprehensive medical assistant program should cover a wide range of skills, from patient care and phlebotomy/EKG to medical billing and coding.
If you plan on completing a certification exam, look for programs that incorporate test prep into the curriculum. Some schools even offer tutors and other academic resources to help you study.
Is the Program High-Quality?
The program’s quality should be the paramount factor in your decision-making process. It will have a significant impact on the outcome of your career as a medical assistant. To receive a high-quality MA education, look for programs that offer the following:
- Small class sizes
- Hands-on training through externships or practicums
- Test prep for the CCMA and RMA
- A certificate to verify your training upon completion of the program
- Knowledgeable instructors with industry experience
- Career services to help you find a job after graduation
What Kind of Work Experience Does the Program Include?
Hands-on training is crucial for a career in medical assisting. Externships allow students to practice what they learn in the classroom in a real-world setting. Plus, they often lead to job offers after graduation. Look for an MA program that offers externships in your desired field.
What Is Job Placement Like After Graduation?
The job outlook for medical assistants is bright. With 104,400 new job openings projected each year over the next decade. If you would prefer access to career counseling and resume preparation, look for a school that includes these services in the MA program.
How Much Does Medical Assistant School Cost?
The cost of tuition, books, registration fees and other academic expenses may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s an investment in your future that can help you earn a rewarding, higher-paying job. With that in mind, it’s vital to find a program within your financial reach.
Most medical assistant schools include the cost of their programs on their website. As you compare prices, double-check to ensure they’ve listed all fees. For example, the total cost of the medical assistant program at AIHT Education is $14,500, including registration fees, tuition, books and supplies.
Does the School Offer Financial Aid?
Scholarships, grants and loans are forms of financial aid that can help you pay for the school. Make an appointment with the financial aid coordinator at the school you want to attend to find out what types of funding they offer.
All students should also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to qualify for federal grants and loans. While you may not be interested in taking a loan, it’s smart to know all your options.
What to Expect in Medical Assistant School
Medical assistants work among doctors and nurses to perform various medical and administrative duties. Your exact responsibilities will vary depending on where you choose to work. Medical assistant school will prepare you for a wide variety of tasks so you can be successful in any setting. You’ll learn through a combination of classroom studies and clinical practice. Most programs cover the following skills:
- Patient preparation and care
- Laboratory tests
- Medical billing and coding
- Computer literacy
- Communication and interpersonal skills
Medical Assistant Training in Stratford, CT
If you’re looking for a high-quality MA program in the Stratford area, AIHT Education could be the perfect fit for you. Our medical assistant training program prepares students to become accomplished healthcare professionals. There are some important factors in enrollment decisions and we want to help you through the entire process.
In our nine-month program, we’ll teach you all the necessary knowledge, skills and values to become a skilled medical assistant. At the end of your training, you’ll complete a clinical externship with working professionals to gain invaluable hands-on experience. Graduates of our medical assistant program will be eligible to earn the certified clinical medical assistant credential from NHA, or the registered medical assistant credential from AMT.
Enrolling in our comprehensive MA program will help you earn the career of your dreams. Schedule an appointment with the admissions department or request information online to learn more about the medical training program at AIHT Education.