This article describes the research and ranking methods used to determine the top 50 medical assisting schools of 2014.
Each college on our list is ranked based on four major factors: total annual cost, graduation rate, retention rate, and in-state vs. out-of-state tuition. We will describe each of those in the paragraphs below, but as a whole, we gave points each school that excelled in those categories. The more desirable the statistics were, the more points we awarded to the school.
Each factor was allotted a total of 10 possible points, making for a perfect score of 40. Our highest ranked school, Wichita Area Technical College, earned 32.5 points. The information that follows explains how we derived the 10 point scale for each category.
Total Annual Cost
To determine values for total annual cost, we sorted hundreds of medical assisting schools in our database based on the estimated cost of attendance for one year of education. These values include in-state tuition, fees, books, room, and board, per statistics from CNN Money.
Once the schools were sorted, we gave the most affordable 10% a total of 10 points. The second tier of 10% received 9 points, and the process continued until the most expensive 10% earned 1 point each.
Each school had a graduation rate between 0% and 100% for first time, full time, degree-seeking students based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a service of the National Center for Education Statistics. We converted those graduation rates from percentages to points, with each percentage representing a corresponding number less than 10. For instance, a graduation rate of 57% was converted to 5.7 points on our scale.
In converting percentages this way, we were able to assign high point values for schools with strong graduation rates.
Retention rates were also courtesy of IPEDS, and they were based on data for first-time degree-seeking undergraduates from the Fall semester, 2011. Retention rates showcase the school’s ability to maintain its student population after the first year of attendance. Each school’s percentage was converted to a number less than 10, where a 69% retention rate would lead to 6.9 points in our system. Again, this rewards schools that have positive retention capabilities.
In-state vs. Out-of-state Tuition
We decided to include this interesting statistic in our calculations because we like schools that encourage students to come in from all locations. We compared the cost of in-state and out-of-state tuition for each of the colleges in our database. After calculating the difference between the two, we ranked all of these schools in order from smallest difference to largest difference.
The top 10% of medical assistant schools with the smallest difference in tuition rates earned 10 points on our scale. Because there was a large tie for schools with no difference at all, this point value took up the top 30% of our database. Thus the next tier of schools earned 7 points, then 6 and so on until schools with an enormous difference in price were given 1 point each.
After all of the schools had been assigned their values, we simply calculated the totals and ranked them from highest to lowest. Schools that did the best had low costs, high graduation rates, strong retention rates, and minimal differences in tuition fees. Check out the list again and see which school is right for you.