How to Pick an Accredited CMA Training School near Rogers Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Rogers AR, it's time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate 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 also. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few 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 credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Rogers AR clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arkansas law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Rogers AR health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at Arkansas community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for Arkansas students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Rogers AR area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Rogers AR medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps 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 exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want 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 process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Rogers AR with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Rogers AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of Arkansas accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing 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 compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college's program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Arkansas colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Rogers AR area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Rogers health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Rogers AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it's essential that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Rogers AR, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Rogers AR Medical Assistant Training
It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you're objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing 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 pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Rogers AR.