When looking for a medical assistant training program it is important to consider medical assistant programs by state because different states tend to have different requirements for various members of the workforce. Consequently, in order to be sure that you are attending a program that will allow you to work as a medical assistant in your state and that best prepares you for the job in your area, you will need to do a state specific search for a program.
Admissions Requirements And Important Questions To Ask
It is important to note that admissions requirements do not only vary from state to state, but also from school to school, and important consideration to keep in mind when looking for medical assistant programs by state. Consequently it will be your responsibility to look into the program yourself in order to determine whether or not you meet the admission requirements in that particular situation. This is one of the most important things to consider when planning to enroll in a medical assistant training program. In addition you should ask about the following aspects of the program so that you can be certain that you are attending a program that does, in fact, suit your needs:
- What previous schooling is required to enter the program? Usually you will need to have a high school diploma or a GED if you want to enter a medical assistant training program.
- When does the program start? Because these programs can be shorter than average, they tend to have staggered start dates. This depends largely on the type of program you choose to attend. A diploma program will have, for example, more start dates than a degree program as the course is shorter. You will of course need to find a program that has a start date that suits your needs.
- When are classes held? Depending on the program that you attend there will be different class times. Some programs offer classes in the mornings and in the evenings. Find out what the class times are before enrolling.
Example: How To Become A Medical Assistant In New York
Because different states have different requirements and steps to complete in order to get through a medical assistant training program, we will use New York as an example. Keep in mind at all times that the requirements for becoming a medical assistant in your state may be very different to the requirements for New York.
The first thing that you need to do is complete your training through an accredited training program. In New York medical assistant training programs are accredited by:
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
New York is one of the states that offer a number of different accredited training programs for its students, which means that you will have many opportunities. In total there are about 15 different accredited programs. These programs offer medical assistant qualifications in the form of:
- Undergraduate certificates
- Associate’s degrees
In any of these programs you will be required to complete a number of subjects related to medical assisting. The most common subjects that you will encounter will be:
- Medical terminology
- Laboratory procedures
- Diagnostic procedures
Generally speaking you will need to spend a year or two on these programs in order to complete them.
The next step is to get certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) as a certified medical assistant (CMA). This will require taking an exam. There are fees involved in the exam which differ for AAMA members and nonmembers:
- Examination fee for a member of the AAMA = $125
- Examination fee for nonmembers = $250
Among other topics the subjects included in the examination will include the following:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Emergency assistance
Generally speaking this test is taking at the college or school where you completed your training program.
Next you will need to apply for the apply for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential through American Medical Technologists (AMT), but before you can do this you will have to gain five years experience working as a medical assistant. For certification you must:
- Demonstrate college work and experience
- Obtain the CMA certification
- Pass the RMA exam
Find An Accredited Program
It is extremely important that you find an accredited program when looking for somewhere to complete your medical assistant training. In order to be a medical assistant you must have:
- College education
- National certification
- Continuing education to keep credentials current
This implies three levels of education: firstly you need to receive the qualification form a college program, secondly you need to some training and revision coursework for the certification examination, and thirdly there are a number of states that require that you show proof of continuing education credits after you have already been certified in order to continue practicing as a medical assistant. When looking for organizations through which to do any of these qualifications you need to find ones that are accredited. If you attend a program at any point on your educational path to becoming a medical assistant that is not appropriately accredited you will, essentially, be wasting both your time and your money on that program and you will be unable to become qualified as a fully fledged medical assistant. Accrediting bodies in your particular state are excellent resources to turn to when attempting to ascertain the accreditation status of a school that you are interested in. often these bodies will have a list of accredited schools. In addition you will be able to ask about specific schools that you are interested in. speaking with medical assistants about where they went to school is also a good way to find a school that is accredited.
Examples Of Accredited Medical Assistant Programs By State
Palm Beach State College in Florida, St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants in Georgia, Brown Mackie College in Indiana and Broward College in Florida are examples of very good accredited schools for becoming a medical assistant. California is one of the states that have the most medical assistant programs on offer. This is a good example of the many options that you have:
- American Career College
- Carrington College California
- UEI College
- Institute of Technology
- Heald College
- Everest College
- San Joaquin Valley College Medical Assistant Program
- High Tech Institute
- Western Career College
- Santa Barbara Business College
Oregon also has quite a large number of schools to choose from:
Anthem College – Portland (for more information about this program please visit here.
Apollo College – Portland (for more information about this program please visit here.
Everest College – Portland (for more information about this program please visit here.
Heald College – Portland (for more information about this program please visit here.
Carrington College – Portland (for more information about this program please visit here.
Pioneer Pacific College – Eugene, Wilsonville (for more information about this program please visit here.
On the other hand there are some states where you will not find a program easily. In Wyoming, for example, there is only one medical assistant program that we could find any information on:
- Institute of Business and Medical Careers – Cheyenne (for more information about this program please visit this link.
There are also several online schools that you can study through from any location.
When looking for medical assistant programs by state there are a number of useful websites that contain fairly comprehensive lists of the programs that are on offer. Two of these websites are:
- http://www.medicalassistantschools.com/programs-by-state/, and
Although these lists are fairly comprehensive, it is important that you do your own research as well into schools in your immediate area. In addition you need to personally take responsibility for ensuring that the schools you are interested in are in fact accredited. You cannot assume accreditation status based on the fact that they are listed on one of the above sites. Turning to organizations such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in order to determine accreditation status will be your own responsibility. Although schools should display this information on their website, they d not always do so. Online program are less tied down by state rules, but they also need to be accredited.
It is incredibly important that you search for medical assistant programs by states rather than by reputation simply because there is not a lot of value to attending a medical assistant training program that is not offered in your state of origin. If you plan or hope to work in a state different to the one you currently live in, the best idea is to find a medical assistant training program that exists in that state so that you will get a chance to experience the norms in that particular area.