Alabama Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
Alabama offers many rural and urban healthcare employment opportunities. Medical assistants in Alabama perform both clinical and administrative duties and may work in ambulatory care, hospitals and clinics. Medical assistants in Alabama earn slightly less than in other states. Median salary for medical assistants in Alabama is around $30,000 per year.
Alabama offers several schools with medical assisting programs. In addition, online learning may be offered in conjunction with classroom instruction.
When interviewing medical assisting schools in Alabama, consider these questions:
- Does the program offer a certificate, diploma or associate of applied science degree in medical assisting?
- Is the school accredited? Without accreditation, you may not be able to obtain federal student loans or sit for the medical assistant certification exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
- Are you able to transfer any college credits you’ve already earned?
- How much does the program cost?
Because there are multiple medical assisting schools in Alabama, you have the perfect opportunity to interview several schools to find the best fit for you.
Alabama Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
In the state of Alabama, medical assistant certifications aren’t explicitly required to practice in the field. However, because a large portion of employers prefers employees who’ve earned medical assisting credentials, we suggest that newly graduated students seek certification to be competitive candidates.
At present, the two most widely recognized national certifications for medical assistants are:
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
To gain the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, the following requirements will need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible to take the certification exam:
- Graduate from a medical assisting program that’s been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- The AAMA states that approved programs typically have coursework in both administrative and clinical areas; topics which include medical terminology, medication administration, computer competency, medical law & ethics, etc. In addition to the theoretical coursework, students will need to have completed a supervised clinical externship at a healthcare facility
- Pass the CMA exam within a year of completing the program
- The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions
- Test takers are given three attempts to pass
- The CMA credential is valid for 60 months
- Recertification can be obtained by examination or by completing 60 continuing education credits
To gain the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential, the following requirements will need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible to take the certification exam:
- Path 1: Complete a medical assisting program with the following attributes:
- Regionally or nationally accredited by an agency that the US Department of Education, The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the AMT Board of Directors has approved
- 720 hours of didactic instruction and 160 hours of clinical externship at a healthcare facility
- Path 2: Have work experience in the field
- Be able to provide proof of having been employed as a medical assistant for five of the last seven years
- Must have experience carrying out clinical and administrative duties
- Path 3: Experience as an instructor
- Have five years of experience as a full-time medical assisting instructor OR
- One or more years of full-time teaching experience with at least three years of clinical work experience
- Path 4: Military training
- Have completed 720 hours of instruction and 160 of clinical training as a part of a US Armed Forces formal medical services training program
List of Alabama Medical Assisting Programs
1. Wallace Community College
Wallace Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting. Students are prepared with the education and skills needed to both work as a competent medical assistant and sit for the MA certification exam. This program is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Medical assisting students at Wallace Community College have the option to earn additional healthcare certifications while enrolled in the medical assisting program. Both phlebotomy and medical transcription certifications are offered with the MA program. The medical assisting program at Wallace is five semesters and costs just over $14,000 to complete.
2. Herzing University
Herzing University is a privately funded academic institution which offers students an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting Services (60 units), a Diploma in Medical Assisting Services (42 units), and Diploma Medical Assisting (32 units). The programs provide students with the knowledge and skills that are required to work as a medical assistant in a broad range of medical settings such as nursing homes, private medical practices, and critical care facility among others. The Associate Degree program can be completed either at Herzing’s Birmingham campus or online and takes about 16-20 months to complete, while the Diploma in Medical Assisting services must be completed on campus and takes about 12 months to complete. The Diploma in Medical Assisting program can also be completed online and takes generally takes about 10 months to complete.
Herzing University – Birmingham Campus Medical Assistant Programs are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
3. South University
South University offers an accredited Associate of Science in Medical Assisting which can be completed in about two years. The program combines both in-depth clinical and medical office administration education. South University’s externship program is a bit different than other schools in the state. A supervised 200 hour externship is required for graduation; the school states the reason for such a lengthy externship is for students to master knowledge and practice before graduation. This externship allows you to experience many different areas of medicine and practice hands-on, what you have learned in class.
Graduates of South University’s program are eligible to sit for the AAMA certification exam. Costs of this program are about $42,000; South University reports a 79% job placement rate for graduates.
4. Trenholm State
Trenholm State offers an Associate Degree in Applied Technology in Medical Assisting. This accredited program combines clinical and medical administration education. This program states is works with a diverse group of students and will accommodate a broad range of learning needs and styles.
Students earn a certificate of medical assisting after one year; students wishing to earn an Associate’s degree need to complete one additional year of education. The cost of Trenholm State’s medical assisting program is around $20,000 for the two year program.
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