How to Enroll In an Accredited Medical Assistant Training Program near Bentonville Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bentonville AR, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Bentonville AR clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Bentonville AR health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at Arkansas junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Bentonville AR medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for Arkansas students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Bentonville AR area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bentonville AR with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Bentonville AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passage Percentage? Most of the Arkansas accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Arkansas schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Bentonville AR area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Bentonville health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Bentonville AR area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bentonville AR, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Bentonville AR Medical Assistant SchoolCourse
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bentonville AR.