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Need advice about certificate vs. Associates Degree programs

I am supposed to start an Associates Degree program in Medical Assisting at ECPI in SC Monday. The cost is $22,500 for books and everything. I only qualified for loans, not grants. There is also a gap between what FAFSA will pay so I have to take out a private loan. Plus, the school has $1500 "in house"
financing, so I will not only have to pay them $100 per month, but also pay the private loan while I'm in school. This sounds very steep to me for a profession that doesn't pay very well. I am also looking at a certificate program (it's 9 months), but I don't think it is CMA or RMA accredited. The program is $12,000. Also sounds very expensive! The local community college has extremely long waiting lists, so that is not an option.

Any advice anyone can offer me is GREATLY appreciated!
Thank you,

Re: Need advice about certificate vs. Associates Degree programs

I wouldn't do either of those programs. WAY WAY WAY to expensive. You could get a nursing degree for less than that. I am ready to take legal action against these medical assisting schools! Riping people off for a job that does not pay and could technically be taught on the job. I got my medical assisting education for just over $1,000 including books and tuition at a Junior College. Don't let one of those school rip you off, you will never make enough money as a medical assistant to justify a tuition like that. Its criminal!

Your Professional Title/Credentials: RN-BSN, CLD, CCMA-C

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? Yes

Re: Need advice about certificate vs. Associates Degree programs

Hi, if I were you I would try to find some kind of grants/scholarships. I also need to find some for next semester or I dont know what ill do. I was told that with a certificate program you can never become certified. I also think most certificate programs focus soley on the administrative side.

Re: Need advice about certificate vs. Associates Degree programs

I think it depends on the certificate program. I checked with the RMA, and they said the program has to have 920 contact hours to be eligible for the RMA certification. It's depressing because I am not eligible for any grants or scholarships, evidently.
I had to put my plans on hold for now.

Re: Need advice about certificate vs. Associates Degree programs

so did you try to get scholarships through either school? There should be at least one scholarship you should qualify for, or ask in the financial aid office.One of my scholarships is up and I need one for next semester etc. but the school will not give me another scholarship (even though tuition is high etc) even though they should give me a chance if I fulfill the requirements. I am having trouble finding alternate scholarships outside of school. Any suggestions???