Alaska Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
With a mixture of rural and urban healthcare systems, Alaska offers a favorable job market for certified medical assistants. Alaska is the second highest paying state in the Nation, with an average CMA salary of around $38,000 per year. Salary changes only slightly regionally across Alaska. The demand for certified medical assistants in Alaska is also expected to grow, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau.
Medical assistant training can be beneficial for working in many areas of medicine in Alaska. Due to the rural nature of many villages and towns, healthcare services may be lacking and underserved. Medical assistant training is extremely valuable and may pose career opportunities to provide direct care to underserved and understaffed areas. Alternately, CMA training may allow you to work in other healthcare areas, such as public health, immunization clinics, emergency services and rural health.
There are several medical assisting schools in Alaska, as well as online learning options. When researching Alaska medical assisting schools, keep these things in mind:
– Cost. The most expensive school isn’t necessarily the best option. Be sure to interview all medical assisting programs to see what works best for your education budget.
– Accreditation. You must choose a medical assistant school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Accredited programs must follow strict educational guidelines. Graduates of an accredited program may sit for the certified medical assistant exam (CMA).
– Degree offered. You may earn either an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree or Certificate or Diploma in medical assisting.
Alaska Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
Although medical assistants in Alaska aren’t technically required to hold a national certification, most employers will undoubtedly give preference to candidates who possess one of the two most commonly recognized credentials.
To qualify for the exam that one must pass to become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), a credential offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT), one of the following requirements will need to be fulfilled:
- Option 1: Traditional medical assisting educational program
- Have completed a program with at least 720 hours instruction and a clinical externship of 160 hours
- The institution/program must be accredited by a regional or national agency which has been approved by the US department of Education, The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the AMT Board of Directors
- Option 2: Military training
- Have completed a formal medical services training program in the US Armed Forces made up of at least 720 hours of instruction and 160 hours of a clinical externship
- Option 3: Work experience
- Have been employed as a medical assistant for at least 5 of the past 7 years
- Have first-hand experience carrying out administrative and clinical duties
- Option 4: Instructors
- Have at least five years of full-time teaching experience in medical assisting
- Applicants with less than five years of experience, but more than one year, must show provide proof of at least three years of clinical work experience in the field
To be eligible to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), a credential offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the following requirements must be fulfilled:
- Have completed a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- The program must consist of theoretical instruction and a clinical externship which covered topics like human anatomy, medication administration, pharmacology, record keeping, clinical and diagnostic procedures, and more.
List of Alaska Medical Assisting Programs
1. Charter College
Charter College is located in Anchorage, Alaska and offers a diploma in medical assisting. This eleven month program has a strong focus on medical basics, technical and business skills to prepare the medical assistant for entry-level in any medical area. Students are required to complete a 180 hour externship at local clinics and physician’s offices, hospitals and ambulatory care facilities.
Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the certified medical assistant exam (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants. Charter College estimates the cost of its medical assistant program around $30,000.
2. University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting. The program can usually be completed in about 18 months. The UAF program focuses strongly on both front and back office procedures to prepare the MA for a well-rounded career.
This program is dual-phased; the first half of the program focuses on clinical education while the second focuses on front-office and administration. Graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants. The University of Alaska Fairbanks estimates the cost of its medical assistant program around $40,000.
3. University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage offers a sixty-credit Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting. Program essentials include both front office and clinical education to prepare the MA to work as a clinical assistant, health insurance specialist, medical coder or front office assistant. This program requires several prerequisites to admission, including math and English; speak with an admissions representative to see if any past college credits will transfer to this program.
The UAA medical assisting program may be completed in two years. Graduates are eligible to sit for the certified medical assistant exam given through the American Association of Medical Assistants.
4. University of Alaska Southeast
The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is a public university which offers students a thirty seven credit certificate program in medical assisting at their campus in Sitka. The program covers general medical knowledge which includes anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, behavioral science, medical law, ethics, among other topics. Although the courses can be taken online, some of them require the student to perform core competencies in a clinical setting with an instructor present. Furthermore, to successfully graduate students must finish a clinical internship at an approved healthcare facility.
Following the completion of this course individuals will be well prepared to become essential members of healthcare teams which work in a wide variety of medical settings. UAS Sitka’s Medical Assisting Certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
5. Alaska Career College
Alaska Career College (ACC) is a private for-profit academic institution which offers a medical assistant specialist certificate program at its campus in Anchorage. The program offers courses during the day, the evening, and on weekends making it ideal for working students. The day program can be completed in as little as nine and a half months, whereas the evening and weekend programs takes fourteen months to complete.
Program competencies include injections, patient administration, blood draws, catheterization, billing and collections, ECGs, patient history and physicals, and more. ACC as an academic institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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