3 Factors to Consider When Evaluating Medical Assistant Schools

If you’ve decided to take the leap and know that you want to begin a career in medical assisting, then your first step will be to begin evaluating the various medical assistant schools that you might attend to earn your certification. 

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at three factors to consider when you are ranking medical assistant schools to meet your educational needs.

Cost of the Program

Perhaps the most important consideration when putting together your list of potential medical assistant schools to attend is the cost. Quite simply put, some programs are just flat out more expensive than others for essentially the same certification.

It is wise to take a look at tuition fees and other charges at the outset of your search so that you don’t invest time and energy in applying for those which may be out of your budget. Additionally, take some time to inquire with the medical assistant schools you are evaluating as to what types of financial assistance they offer.

Length of the Program

Most medical assistant schools are generally either one or two-year programs. While there is no standardized duration or curriculum across all of the institutions that offer medical assisting certification, these two formats seem to be the norm with nearly all of them. There are pros and cons to both. 

Obviously, with a one-year program, you’ll conclude your course work, be out in the work force, and begin earning a medical assistant salary sooner. 

However, there are reasons to consider a two-year course as well. The course load and intensity of the program is slightly less and you’ll find that many topics are covered in far greater detail. Additionally, two-year medical assistant schools may cover some topics which are not presented in the one-year format.

Certificate Program or General Education?

When researching medical assistant schools, you will find that there are generally two types. One will be community colleges and junior colleges which allow you to take course work outside of the medical assisting curriculum, which can provide you with exposure to many great subjects that can further your career such as basic accounting and management. 

Alternatively, there are a number of programs which will include only the course work necessary for medical assisting certification. These courses are able to be completed in less time, however, you will most likely not have the opportunity to attend the elective classes which a community college may offer.

Consider the programs below, all of which are accredited in Missouri:

  • East Central College (Union): A Certificate of Completion in medical assisting is awarded to students with just one year of study.
  • Bolivar Technical College (Bolivar): Offers both a Certificate of Completion as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting. The certificate program will take one year to complete, while the degree can be earned with two years of study.
  • Midwest Institute (St. Louis): Offers a Certificate of Completion in medical assisting. This program can be completed in about one year.

Keeping these three factors in mind when evaluating medical assistant schools will help you find a program which best prepares you for a profession in medical assisting by meeting your unique needs.

Eric Benson

Contributing Writer, Missouri Health Connect