Medical Assistant College
If you want to find success in the field of medical assisting, it would be very valuable to find the best medical assistant college for you. The medical assistant courses that your are looking for should be tailored to give you real-world career training in medical assisting. The medical assisting course should also give you an overall view of the healthcare industry as well as how healthcare businesses run.
Choosing the right college and finding the right training can impact your long term career in medical assisting. It will determine your career direction as well as how far you can take your career. Many employeers prefer to hire medical assistants who have a degree from a college with an accredited medical assistant program. Be sure you can find out more about certified, as it will be an important factor in finding the right college.
Medical Assistant College Credentials
Medical assistant college programs range in the degree level as well as the actual credential given. The most common credentials are:
Associate’s Degrees – Associates degrees in medical assisting give a broader education. This will include your general education to provide a well-rounded career foundation. Associate’s degree programs take up to two years to complete, and can lead to a high-level of employment. Many of these programs can be used as credit for obtaining a bachelors degree in healthcare or other areas.
Certificates – Medical assistant certificate programs are offered by many colleges and are meant to add to an existing degree. These programs can take from a few months to a year to complete and can prepare graduates for entry-level employment.
Diplomas – Diploma programs in medical assisting are year-long programs that are completed without having prior college experience. These programs are not designed to supliment a college degree, but can be used as an entry-point into a medical career. They usually require only a high school education to enroll. These programs often prepare medical assistant graduates for entry-level employment.
Find the Right College
Medical assistant colleges vary widely in terms of quality and program offerings. It is very important tha you research to find the best school that is right for you. There are a number of things to consider when considering a medical assistant college. They include: types of credentials, length of the program, additional school services.
Accreditation – Most colleges are accredited by a recognized industry authority, which ensures school programs are up to industry standards. This is an especially important factor for medical assistant graduates who plan to become certified, as most certification organizations require a form of accreditation. CAAHEP and ABHES are the two most well-known organizations that accredit medical assistant schools.
Career Services – Many colleges offer graduates and current students access to career services such as resume and job interview assistance, job referrals, or opportunities to meet medical assistant recruiters. (As a side note, you can also find resume and interview assistance on this site.)
Online Offerings – For students with time constraints, some colleges offer online extensions where students can register to take medical assistant classes online, in addition to their classroom-based courses. These offerings are normally counted as regular classes.
Financial Aid – Not all colleges offer scholarships or other forms of direct financial aid, but many provide assistance with FAFSA applications or notifications of other scholarships.
Credentials – Some colleges offer a variety of credentials such as diplomas, certificates and associate’s degrees, while others may offer fewer options.
Some of the questions you might ask of college representatives are:
- Is the college accredited, and by whom?
- What certifications or careers does the college prepare graduates for?
- Are financing options available?
- Does this college provide job placement assistance to graduates?
- Are online classes available?
It is best to use these and other criteria to compare at least two to three colleges, if possible.
Applying to Medical Assisting Colleges
Either a high school diploma or a GED is normally required to apply to a medical assistant college. Depending on the school the application process may also involve:
- Completing a general application form online
- Interviewing with a college representative
- Submitting an original essay
- Submitting any relevant test scores
College representatives should readily answer any questions related to the application process.
Since medical assistants work with the public, medical assistant college applicants should be well groomed and courteous. As you apply to medical assistant schools, it is smart to be aware of the general medical assistant job description so you can gauge your own strengths and weaknesses.
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