Home >> Arkansas >> Conway >> Medical Assistant Classes


Become a Medical Assistant Conway AR 72032

How to Select an Accredited CMA School near Conway Arkansas

Conway AR medical assistant with medical chartNow that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Conway AR, it's time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Conway AR medical assistant measuring blood pressure reading of patient

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Conway AR hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training Courses

Conway AR CMA welcoming patientUnlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Conway AR health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at Arkansas community and junior colleges together with trade 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 training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Conway Arkansas woman attending medical assistant online classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arkansas students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Conway AR area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Conway AR medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Conway AR with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Conway AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arkansas accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Arkansas colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Conway AR area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Conway medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Conway AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Conway AR, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Conway AR Medical Assistant Training

It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Conway AR.