How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Jonesboro Arkansas
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Jonesboro AR, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Jonesboro AR clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential 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 specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Jonesboro AR health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Jonesboro AR area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Jonesboro AR medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Jonesboro AR with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Jonesboro AR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn 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 college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Jonesboro AR area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Jonesboro healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Jonesboro AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, 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 Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Jonesboro Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Jonesboro AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Jonesboro is a city located on Crowley's Ridge in the northeastern corner of the U.S. State of Arkansas. Jonesboro is one of two county seats of Craighead County and the home of Arkansas State University. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 71,551 and is the fifth-largest city in Arkansas.
Jonesboro is the cultural and economic center of northeastern Arkansas. It is the principal city of the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026 and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.
The Jonesboro area was first inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, historic tribes included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. The name of the state of Arkansas comes from the Quapaw language. French and Spanish traders and trappers had relations with these groups.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Jonesboro AR
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant To Rn. But irrespective 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Jonesboro AR.
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