How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Lowell Arkansas
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lowell AR, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by evaluating 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 factors also. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Lowell AR clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Arkansas law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lowell AR health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route 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 developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational 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 practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Lowell AR area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Lowell AR medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching 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 nearest to Lowell AR with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, 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 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 one 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 assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Lowell AR employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask 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 school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Lowell AR area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Lowell health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Lowell AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lowell AR, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lowell Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lowell AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lowell is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. Located within the Ozarks, first settlement was along Old Wire Road in the 1840s, and although destroyed during the Civil War, the community was reestablished by J. H. McClure and thrived when the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway came through the area in the 1880s. Today, the city is a growing bedroom community within the rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas region. Lowell is also home to the headquarters of trucking company J.B. Hunt. Lowell's population was 7,327 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46% since 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lowell has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.9 km2), of which 9.2 square miles (23.7 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.68%, is water. Lowell is located in southern Benton County at 36°15′38″N 94°8′22″W / 36.26056°N 94.13944°W / 36.26056; -94.13944 (36.260429, -94.139570). It is bordered by the cities of Springdale and Bethel Heights to the south, Cave Springs to the west and Rogers to the north. 4 miles (6 km) to the east is Beaver Lake, a large reservoir of the White River.
The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). The area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs morphology; instead the four principal cities are all located along Interstate 49 in a linear configuration. Lowell is also located along this corridor, between Springdale and Rogers.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Lowell AR
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed 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 examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lowell AR.
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