How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Dumas Arkansas
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dumas AR, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of potential students start 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 important factors also. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects 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 “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Dumas AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Dumas AR health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Dumas 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 best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Dumas AR medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Dumas AR with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Dumas AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Dumas AR area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Dumas health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Dumas AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Dumas 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 any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dumas Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dumas AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dumas is located in northwestern Desha County at 33°53′12″N 91°29′19″W / 33.88667°N 91.48861°W / 33.88667; -91.48861 (33.886626, -91.488544). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.4 km2), all land. The city is located in the Delta Lowlands sub-region of the Arkansas Delta, producing a topography which is largely flat.
The climate in the area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Dumas has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,238 people, 1,977 households, and 1,399 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,768.0 people per square mile (683.2/km²). There were 2,177 housing units at an average density of 734.8 per square mile (284.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 26.62% White, 70.02% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 2.00% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 3.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Dumas AR
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin 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 info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Schools. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Dumas AR.
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