If you want to become a medical assistant in Arkansas, you’ll need to get certified. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your Arkansas medical assistant certification.
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The Arkansas medical assistant certification process is fairly straightforward and can be completed relatively quickly. Certified medical assistants (CMAs) in Arkansas enjoy a number of benefits, including increased job security, higher wages, and greater career advancement opportunities. In this article, we’ll outline the steps you’ll need to take to become a CMA in Arkansas.
What is a medical assistant?
A medical assistant is a professional who supports the work of physicians and other health professionals, usually in an outpatient clinic, hospital or other healthcare facility. Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the office running smoothly. They may also be responsible for patient education, insurance billing and coding, and other office duties.
In order to become a certified medical assistant (CMA), you must complete an accredited medical assisting program and pass the certification exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Once you have passed the exam, you will need to maintain your certification by completing continuing education units (CEUs) every few years.
Duties of a medical assistant
Medical assistants are unlicensed multi-skilled health care professionals who perform administrative and clinical tasks in an outpatient setting under the supervision of a licensed physician or other health care provider. Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate, diploma, or associate degree from an accredited medical assisting program.
Duties of medical assistants vary by state and by the size, type, and location of the employer. However, many medical assistants perform both administrative and clinical duties. They might take patient histories and record vital signs, explain treatment procedures to patients, prepare patients for examination, assist the physician during the examination, and collect and prepare laboratory specimens. In addition, medical assistants may schedule appointments, bill patients, and handle correspondence.
Education and training requirements
To become a medical assistant in Arkansas, you must complete an accredited training program and pass a nationally recognized certification exam. There are many accredited programs available online and in-person, so you can choose the learning format that best fits your needs.
Once you have completed your training, you will need to take and pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AAMA offers study materials and practice exams to help you prepare for the CMA exam. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your Arkansas medical assistant certification.
Arkansas does not currently have state-specific certification requirements for medical assistants. However, many employers prefer to hire candidates who are certified, and some may require certification as a condition of employment. The two main types of certification for medical assistants are the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential offered by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).
In order to qualify for either credential, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical assisting program and pass a standardized exam. Both credentialing organizations also offer certification by reciprocity, which may be an option for candidates who are already certified in another state. Candidates who wish to pursue certification should check with their chosen credentialing organization for specific requirements.
The outlook for medical assistants in Arkansas is positive. The state is expected to see a 16% growth in employment for medical assistants between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the national average of 14%.1 This means that there will be approximately 1,430 new medical assistant jobs created in Arkansas during this 10-year period.1
Medical assistants in Arkansas make an average salary of $29,560 per year. The top 10% of medical assistants make more than $37,830 per year, while the bottom 10% make less than $21,610 per year. In general, medical assistants in Arkansas make slightly less than the national average salary for this profession.
There is a great deal of variation in medical assistant salaries across the state of Arkansas. In Fayetteville, for example, medical assistants make an average salary of $32,070 per year, while in Little Rock they make an average salary of $28,610 per year. Salaries also tend to be higher in the northwestern part of the state and lower in the southeastern part.
Pros and cons of becoming a medical assistant
When researching a career in the medical field, you may come across the role of medical assistant. Medical assistants play an important role in today’s healthcare system, and there are many pros and cons to becoming one.
The demand for medical assistants is increasing, as is the pay. Medical assistants made a median salary of $33,610 in 2017, and the demand for medical assistants is projected to grow by 29% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
A major pro of becoming a medical assistant is that you can enter the field with little formal education. Most programs take less than two years to complete, and some community colleges offer one-year certificate programs. That said, you will receive on-the-job training from a supervising physician or another licensed healthcare professional.
As a medical assistant, you will wear many hats. You will be responsible for both administrative duties, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments, as well asclinical duties, such as taking patient vital signs and preparing them for examination. This variety can be a pro or a con, depending on your preferences.
While the job outlook is good for medical assistants, there are some cons to consider before making the decision to enter this career field. Medical assistants work in fast-paced environments and may be required to work long hours, nights or weekends. The BLS notes that 45% of medical assistants worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.
Another con is that while most employers provide on-the-job training, some formal education is preferred by employers or may be required for certain positions.
Becoming a medical assistant has its pros and cons, but it’s ultimately a decision that should be based on your individual preferences and goals.
Steps to becoming a medical assistant in Arkansas
While medical assisting is not a licensed profession in Arkansas, certification is available through several agencies and can be beneficial when seeking employment. Certification verifies that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties of a medical assistant. The following steps will guide you through the process of becoming a certified medical assistant in Arkansas.
1. Complete a Medical Assistant Program
The first step towards becoming a certified medical assistant in Arkansas is to complete an accredited medical assistant program. Programs typically last between 6 and 12 months and include coursework in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, administrative procedures, and clinical procedures.
2. Pass the Certified Medical Assistant Exam
Once you have completed an accredited medical assistant program, you will need to pass the certified medical assistant exam before you can be certified. The Exam for the Certification of Medical Assistants is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants and is available throughout the United States.
3. Complete the Application for Certification
After you have passed the certified medical assistant exam, you will need to complete an application for certification. The application can be obtained from the American Association of Medical Assistants or from the Arkansas State Board of Health.
4. Submit Documentation and Fees
Once you have completed the application for certification, you will need to submit documentation of your education and training, as well as any required fees. The Arkansas State Board of Health requires a fee of $50 for initial certification and $25 for each subsequent renewal. Fees may vary if you are applying for certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants.
5. Renew Your Certification Periodically
Certification must be renewed every two years in order to remain active. Renewal can be done online or by mail/fax.
There are a few things you need to know in order to get Arkansas medical assistant certification. The first is that you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. The second is that you must complete an accredited medical assisting program. The third is that you must pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Q: Where can I find an accredited medical assisting program in Arkansas?
A: There are several accredited programs throughout the state. You can find a list of accredited programs on the AAMA website.
Q: How long does it take to complete an accredited medical assisting program?
A: Most programs can be completed in about two years. However, some programs may take longer depending on your schedule and other factors.
Q: How much does it cost to become certified?
A: The cost of certification will vary depending on the program you choose and whether you need to retake the CMA exam. However, many programs offer financial assistance to help offset the cost of certification.