How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Norman Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Norman AR, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished 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 role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Norman AR clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. 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 assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Arkansas law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Norman 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 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare 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 technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Norman AR area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain 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 an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Norman AR medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps 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, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Norman AR with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Norman AR employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must 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 example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Norman AR area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Norman health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Norman AR area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Norman AR, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Norman Arkansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Norman AR area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
There is a Caddo Native American burial ground on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials, led by then mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendents of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.
As of the census of 2000, there were 423 people, 190 households, and 117 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.8/km² (364.8/mi²). There were 224 housing units at an average density of 74.6/km² (193.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.56% White, 1.42% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. 2.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 190 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Norman AR
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering 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 select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Curriculum. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Norman AR.
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