How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Russellville Arkansas
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Russellville 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 subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by researching 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 issues also. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short 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 offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Russellville AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Russellville AR health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options 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 usually 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as 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 courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Russellville AR area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Russellville AR medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, 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. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Russellville AR with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Russellville AR employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Russellville AR area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Russellville medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Russellville AR area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Russellville AR, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Russellville Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Russellville AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas, United States, with a population of 27,920, according to the 2010 Census. It is home to Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas' only nuclear power plant. Russellville borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.
Before the town was named Russellville, it was known as Chactas Prairie, The Prairie, or Cactus Flats. In the early 19th century, Osage from Missouri hunted frequently in the valley where Russellville is located. Between 1818 and 1828, the area was within a Cherokee reservation, but after 1828 the Cherokee were removed to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and the land became available for white settlement. The first settler in the area was P.C. Holledger in 1834.
One year later, Dr. Thomas Russell bought Holledger's house. The first business to be established in the town was owned by Mr. Shinn, who later built a masonry structure to replace his wooden store in 1875. This building still exists today, and is known as the Shinn Building. It was built at the intersection of an east-west road from Little Rock to Fort Smith and a north-south buffalo trail to a ford on the Arkansas River. Early travelers used these established trails to pass through the valley. When the town's residents decided to name the town, it came down to two choices: Shinnville or Russellville, and Russellville won.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Russellville AR
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Vocational Schools. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Russellville AR.
More Medical Locations in Arkansas