Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Every Future Medical Assistant Student Needs to Know About Finding the Right Vocational Training Program

People enrolling in medical assisting training programs run the gamut of age. Most of today's vocational training program students are people seeking post-secondary education as a means of career change or much needed vocational rehab to get back into the workforce. Their ages typically range in the late 20s to 30s along with people in their 40s and 50s, which is not unusual. If you are one among them, then here are some quick tips when contacting a vocational training school that interests you:

Ask them whether the program is completely campus based, or a combination of classroom instruction and online, or one hundred percent online based.

Find out how long the program will take from start to finish and what kind of documentation you will receive upon graduation. If it is an online course, ask whether your certificate or diploma you earned will state "online program". You may, or may not want that.  Ask how long the program has been in existence and how many people have graduated successfully. Find out whether it costs extra to repeat their finals, in case you need to take them twice.

Ask whether the school and their programs are accredited by the Department of Education, CAAHEP, ABHES, or any other recognized entity, and if the answer is no, find out whether they have applied for accreditation (accreditation is pending). This is an important question because it will also play a role in your ability to obtain financial aid, grants and student loans if you are looking for education funding sources and whether you will qualify to sit for important national medical assistant certification exams.

Ask whether you will need to buy scrubs, equipment such as a stethoscope, laptop and (most certainly!) textbooks. Find out ahead of time which books they will use in the program. Also, be sure to ask which professional credentials you will receive and if there is a professional membership association, or local chapter for this credential for peer-to-peer networking and support. It is also important to find out if the school has an externship requirement where students are required to complete a supervised clinical practicum at a medical facility that includes supervised competencies and evaluations completed at the facility.

Ask whether the school has a  job referral program or job placement assistance and last but not least, request an itemized list of all costs involved, including tuition, books and any certification exam application fees. To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

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