7 Things to Look for in a Medical Assistant Program

Posted On January 27,2021

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant (MA), one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which medical assistant training program to attend. Not all medical assisting programs are created equal, therefore, it’s very important to do plenty of careful and thorough research prior to enrollment.

In order to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your education and training, here are 7 things to look for in a great medical assistant program:

New medical assistant wearing medical gloves holding a stethoscope.

1. Accreditation

When choosing an MA program, the most important criteria to decipher is whether the program is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These certifying bodies not only demand that a school adheres to strict educational standards, but if you choose a program that’s not accredited, then you won’t be able to take the exam to become a certified medical assistant after completion of the program. The CMA, or certified medical assistant, is only earned through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and they only allow graduates of accredited medical assisting programs to sit for the exam.

While certification isn’t required to become a medical assistant in some states, the majority of employers prefer to hire only those individuals who are certified. Plus, taking the extra step to become certified demonstrates to potential employers that you’re fully committed and dedicated to becoming the best medical assistant you can be.

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2. Program Length

One major benefit to becoming a medical assistant is that training programs are relatively short. For those students who don’t have a lot of time or resources to commit to going back to school for several years, this is a huge plus. Program length will vary depending on the school, but for those looking to get a jump start in a new career, you’ll want to find out how long the program length is. Some programs can be completed in one year or less, which is perfect for busy people. 

3. Program Style

You’ll want to ensure that the program style fits your needs and lifestyle prior to enrollment. For example, do they provide traditional classroom instruction in addition to plenty of hands-on labs or learning opportunities? Do they offer full and part-time enrollment? It’s important that the program you choose fits into your schedule.

4. Class Flexibility

Choosing a program that fits into your lifestyle is important, so look for one that not only offers flexible classes, such as day or evening, but also one that offers program start dates more than just once a year. It’s also worth checking if there is a waitlist to enroll. You might find the perfect school, but they have a waitlist a mile long. That’s not going to help you if you need to get started right away.

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5. Financial Aid

Not all programs offer financial aid assistance. If you know that you will need financial assistance options, make sure it is a top priority on your list of what to look for in a good medical assistant program. You could find the best program to suit your needs but if it does not offer financial aid you will have spent your time researching a program that isn’t going to work. If you’re unsure if the program you are looking at offers financial aid, feel free to contact their admissions office and ask questions.

6. Student Services

What type of student support services are important to you? Some programs offer externship opportunities and job placement assistance. If the program you’re interested in offers supplemental support outside of the classroom, you can expect the faculty and staff to be interested in helping you succeed. Going back to school is a big step, and it’s important to know if you need help you have somewhere to go for direction.

7. Reputation

Before enrolling in a medical assistant training program, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing a school with a solid reputation and high student satisfaction rate. Check out the school’s social media platforms and testimonials on their website to see what everyone is saying about the program.  

Ready to Get Started?

The most important step you take towards starting your medical assistant journey begins with finding the right school. At Athena Career Academy, our reputable and accredited medical assistant training program fully prepares students by providing all of the necessary skills and knowledge needed to be a success in this exciting and highly desirable medical profession. For more information about enrolling, contact us today.