When it comes to deciding on the program to obtain your degree or certificate in medical assisting, the homework needs to begin before you even enroll. With numerous MA program choices out there, how do you ensure you’re selecting the one to best fit your needs? Before making your final selection, there are a few important questions to ask prior to enrolling. Knowing the outcome of these questions will also help narrow down your choices, making the decision-making process less stressful.Is the Program Accredited?
In order to become a Certified Medical Assistant, you need to enroll in an MA program accredited by ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) or CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs). It’s important to note that only those who have graduated from an MA program that are accredited by the ABHES or CAAHEP are eligible to sit for the CMA exam issued by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
Accreditation is extremely important if you plan on seeking certification once your training is complete. Although certification isn’t required in some states, the majority of employers will prefer to hire those candidates who have earned certification, versus those job applicants without it.
If you want to stand out in a competitive job market, obtaining certification will offer you an advantage over those applicants without it. Plus, becoming certified proves your commitment and motivation towards your new career as a medical assistant.
How Long Does It Take?
Before signing up for certified medical assistant classes, you’ll want to find out how long the program length is, which varies according to the type of training you’re pursuing. If getting started in your new career quickly is of big importance to you, there are some MA programs that can be completed in one year or less. For example, Athena Career Academy’s CMA program includes approximately 800 hours of study and teacher’s instruction over a period of 7.5 months, with an additional 6-week externship.
Does it Fit Into Your Lifestyle?
Another big item on the list to consider is how well does this particular MA program fit into your lifestyle? This is especially important for those who are already working another job, raising a family, or committed to other things, as you want to make sure to find an MA program that will fit into your busy lifestyle, without having to make a ton of changes or sacrifices.
Keep in mind that the majority of CMA programs may require hundreds of hours of classroom education, lab instruction and on-site training that can add up to approximately 1,000 hours. If you want to be successful in your program, it’s important to make sure you can commit to such a schedule before you enroll.
Are They Flexible?
Which brings us to the next question, “Are they flexible?” This is an important deciding factor for anyone considering enrolling in an MA program. If an unexpected emergency or event occurs in your life, such as a job loss, illness, or family concern shortly after you’ve started your certified medical classes, what are your options? You need to know that your time and money won’t go to waste because you aren’t able to make any adjustments in order to adapt to those changes appropriately.
Look for an MA program which frequently has certified medical assisting classes starting on a regular basis, as those programs typically have an easier time getting you going again, should you need to take a short break, or make any changes to your schedule. Athena Career Academy is here to help. We offer an accredited program that will prepare you for a career in the healthcare field. Contact us today to speak with one of our admission staff and get started on your new career path today!