How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Malvern Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Malvern AR, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Malvern AR clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Arkansas law, some elect 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 many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Malvern AR health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might 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 Malvern AR area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Malvern AR medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly 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 be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Malvern AR with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Malvern AR employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Malvern AR area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Malvern healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Malvern AR area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout 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 school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Malvern AR, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out 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 Malvern Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Malvern AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Malvern is a city in and the county seat of Hot Spring County, Arkansas, United States. Founded as a railroad stop at the eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountains, the community's history and economy have been tied to available agricultural and mineral resources. The production of bricks from locally available clay has earned the city the nickname, "The Brick Capital of the World". The city had a population of 10,318 at the time of the 2010 census, and in 2015 the estimated population was 10,928.
Named after Malvern Hill, Virginia, Malvern was founded in 1870 by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad as a city site 21 miles (34 km) southeast of Hot Springs. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially became the county seat of Hot Spring County. The original inhabitants of the county were Native Americans, trappers, hunters, and farmers.
The Hot Springs Railroad, often referred to as the Diamond Jo line, was established as a narrow-gauge railroad by Chicago businessman Joseph Reynolds in 1874. Reynolds began building the Hot Springs Railroad, which extends northwest from Malvern Junction, a station on the Cairo & Fulton, to Hot Springs, after he had endured unsatisfactory stagecoach rides to the latter city. Because Malvern was the closest railroad station to Hot Springs, it became an important junction point for passengers transferring from rail to stagecoach to complete their journey to the spas in Hot Springs. This was the only railroad into Hot Springs for 15 years. The opening of the Little Rock & Hot Springs Western Railroad in April 1900 provided a more direct access to Hot Springs from Little Rock and the north, and both the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf and the Iron Mountain took advantage of this route, effectively cutting the volume of interchange traffic into Malvern. By 1902 passenger train shuttle service through Malvern had essentially ended.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Malvern AR
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right 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 personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Schools. But regardless 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Malvern AR.
More Medical Locations in Arkansas