You’ve made the decision to become a medical assistant, now you’re trying to find the right program to help get you there. With so many different schools and programs to choose from, it can be more than just a little overwhelming to distinguish one from another. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to obtaining your medical assistant degree, so here are some of the most important factors to consider as you whittle down your options.

1. Enrollment Options

Your program options are many, so find one that is tailored to fit your particular needs and then explore what the requirements are in that program. How many credits are needed to graduate? Can you take the course online? How long will it take to complete the course based on the level of education you are seeking. Asking these, and other, questions will help you narrow your choices to the one that is right for your situation.

2. Accredited Degree Programs

One of the ways you can ascertain whether or not a school is worth your time is by finding out if that institution has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These are the two leading accreditation organizations that offer assurance that the program will give you the training and knowledge necessary to succeed in your field and find good employment in the job market. Taking classes that come with accreditation can also allow you to take the certification exam.

3. Tuition Costs

School isn’t cheap and another way to do some smart comparison shopping for the right medical assistant program is by weighing the costs of enrollment. Tuition expenses along with everything from room and board to books and supplies need to be considered because you may not be able to work full time while you’re getting your degree. So check out any financial aid options that are offered, do certain schools provide grants or scholarships? Will you need to get a student loan? Asking these questions now will prove helpful as you explore your options.

4. Save All Documentation Ready

Applying to medical assistant schools is not that much different from any other institutions. You will need to get the application and any other necessary forms and have them filled out properly when you apply. Many schools offer all of the pertinent paperwork on their website or you can visit the admissions office to get everything you need. Whichever you choose, ensure you have it all and you hand your documents in by the deadline.

5. Pursuing Your Certification

After you have learned how to become a medical assistant and you’ve earned a degree, you may want to get your certification. This requires you to take the CMA exam, which can prove useful in giving you a competitive edge when you’re looking for employment. While the process for getting certified is relatively simple, the test is not. You have a choice of organizations for earning your certification as there are two that offer the test, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or American Medical Technologists (AMT).