How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program

Posted On September 15,2020

Smiling medical assistant student holding a clipboard.

Are you thinking of becoming a medical assistant but aren’t exactly sure where to start? You know you’ll need some kind of formal training and education in order to achieve your goalS, but you’re having trouble getting past the endless sea of questions in your head, such as, “Where will I go to school and how long will it take?”

Deciding to go back to school is a major life decision and financial commitment, so it’s no wonder that you want to have absolute confidence that you’re choosing the right school in order to protect your investment and ensure that you’re receiving the very best training and education possible.

With all of the various options available to students today, how can one evaluate whether or not a program is the right fit for them?

Is it Accredited?

The first and most important question you want to ask about a potential MA program is whether or not they’re accredited. If the answer is no, cross them off of the list and keep on looking. Yes, accreditation really is that important! Only graduates of MA programs accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES are eligible to sit for the CMA exam to receive their certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants. While not all states legally require certification in order to work as a medical assistant, the vast majority of employers prefer to hire only those candidates with certification.

Taking the extra step to become certified not only shows your potential employer that you are fully committed to dedicating yourself to the medical assisting profession, but it also demonstrates that you attended a school that met certain standards, and that you as a graduate from that program learned the proper knowledge and skills to adequately perform the job.

How Long is the Program?

This answer may vary depending on the school, but many medical assistant programs can be completed in just one year or less. Medical assisting is an excellent choice for those who wish to get a jump start on a new career quickly and don’t have several years to commit towards earning a degree.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Continuing your education is a substantial financial commitment, but financial aid might be available to help reduce some of the cost for those students who qualify. If you’re in need of financial assistance, make sure to ask what type of financial aid or tuition assistance is available.

Are Classes Offered Part-Time or Full Time?

For some students this is a very important question to ask, as many students have family or work schedules to accommodate and plan around.

Are Classes Offered at Convenient Times?

Do they offer day and evening classes? In addition, do they offer online distance learning, in-person classes, or both? If you need an alternative schedule, don’t despair, as many schools are offering online distance education classes, or looking to accommodate students by offering flexible schedule options.

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Is There an Externship?

Most reputable medical assisting programs include a clinical externship at the end. Clinical externships offer students an invaluable opportunity to practice learned skills in a real-life working environment where they get to interact with physicians, experienced medical assistants, and other office staff.

Still Have Questions About Becoming a Medical Assistant?

You’ve got questions, and we’ve got the answers, so contact Athena Career Academy today and we’ll help you jumpstart your goals as you work towards becoming a medical assistant.

Learn More about our CMA Program