Home >> Arkansas >> Fayetteville >> Online Medical Assistant Programs


Become a Medical Assistant Fayetteville AR 72701

How to Enroll In the Best CMA School near Fayetteville Arkansas

Fayetteville AR medical assistant with medical chartNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fayetteville AR, it's time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

Fayetteville AR CMA taking blood pressure reading of patient

The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Fayetteville AR hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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

Fayetteville AR medical assistant opening door for patient on crutchesUnlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Fayetteville 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 essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at Arkansas community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

Fayetteville Arkansas woman attending medical assistant program onlineThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for Arkansas students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Fayetteville AR area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Fayetteville AR medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
 

 

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fayetteville AR with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Fayetteville AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arkansas accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Arkansas schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Fayetteville AR area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Fayetteville medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Fayetteville AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates 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 jobs.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Fayetteville AR Medical Assistant SchoolCourse

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you're goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fayetteville AR.