Arkansas Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
Medical assisting is a growing profession across the United States. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to find education as a medical assistant close to home. Arkansas offers traditional medical assisting training at a handful of schools throughout the state. Alternately, you may find distance learning more your taste, with colleges offering programs online. Be sure to take your time and thoroughly investigate any school before making a commitment. Finding the right medical assisting training for you can make all the difference in your professional future!
Arkansas Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
Similar to other states in the country, MAs employed in Arkansas aren’t compelled by law to hold a national credential or certification in this entry-level health care specialization. However, certification holds many advantages, and MAs who hold one of the recognized certification options often find that they have access to higher quality employment opportunities and elevated salaries.
There are two nationally acknowledged certifications in the field of medical assisting: 1) the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification which is administered via the American Medical Technologists (AMT), and 2) the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) which is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Individuals looking to attain AMT’s Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential must have satisfied ONE of the following requirements in order to be eligible to take the certification’s exam:
- Option A: Complete a medical assistant program with the following attributes
- Regionally or nationally recognized by an agency approved by the US Department of Education, The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the AMT Board of Directors
- 720 hours of theoretical instruction online or in the classroom
- 160 hours of hands-on experience as a part of a clinical externship at a healthcare facility
- Option B: As a part of the US Armed Forces, complete a program comparable to a collegiate medical assistant program
- Program must be composed of 720 hours of didactic instruction and 160 hours of hands-on training at a real-world healthcare facility
- Option C: Be an experienced medical assistant teacher
- Have at least five years of full-time experience in the past seven years as a medical assistant program instructor OR
- Have less than five years of full-time experience as an instructor for a medical assistant program with at least three years of clinical work experience
- Option D: Have prior work experience as a medical assistant
- Have worked full-time as a medical assistant, carrying out both clinical and administrative duties, for five of the past seven years
Those looking to attain AAMA’s Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential will need to have fulfilled the listed requirements to qualify to take the certification’s exam:
- Provide proof of having graduated from a medical assistant program that’s been approved by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
- The program’s coursework must include medical terminology, medical law & ethics, physiology, anatomy, medication administration, diagnostic procedures, lab techniques, patient relations, and pharmacology, among others.
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is valid for a period of 60 months
List of Arkansas Medical Assisting Programs
1. Arkansas Tech University
Arkansas Tech University is located in Russellville, Arkansas. The university offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in Medical Assisting that is 24 months in length and covers both elective and core medical assisting courses. Students are required to take most of their foundation courses, like biology, communications and math, in the first year. The second year includes core medical assisting courses, like laboratory, clinical and hands-on instruction. Students also complete an externship in the second year. Arkansas Tech University states that only 12 students per year are admitted to the program. Acceptance is highly competitive and students are advised to be well-prepared to enter the program. Once admitted, students must complete the first year with grades of ‘C’ or higher in order to progress into the second year of the program.
The university boasts a well-rounded medical assisting program in which graduates feel prepared to enter the workforce. Arkansas Tech is accredited; graduates of the medical assisting program are able to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants.
2. Bryan College
Bryan College is located in Rogers, Arkansas. It offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting, which can be completed in about 80 weeks, according to the college. Students take a mixture of general courses and core medical classes. Some medical assisting classes are offered online, with the remainder of the curriculum offered in a traditional classroom. Students complete an externship, which helps prepare graduates for employment in clinics, outpatient centers and chiropractic offices. Bryan College reports a 100% job placement rate for graduation and the program costs about $33,000.
3. Blue Cliff College
Blue Cliff College is a private, for-profit technical school which offers students a 53 credit-hour clinical medical assistant program. Throughout the program, students will take courses in pharmacology, medical terminology, patient care and communication, medical lab procedures and more. Courses begin every six weeks, so if you’re in a hurry to get started you won’t have to wait very long. The daytime program can be completed in as little as nine months and the night program takes 15 months to complete. The total estimated cost of the program is $15,881.
Blue Cliff College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
4. Arkansas State University Mid-South
Arkansas State University Mid-South is a public community college located in West Memphis which offers a 60-61 credit-hour Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting. The program can be completed in as little as three semesters and prepares graduates for employment in a wide variety to settings like labs, healthcare facilities, private offices, clinics, and hospitals. Prospective students should be aware that they can only start ASUMS’s medical assistant program in the fall semester.
The cost of the program is between $6,790 and $6,903 plus additional fees for books, materials, and testing. ASUMS is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and the Higher Learning Commission.
5. University of Arkansas Cossatot
University of Arkansas Cossatot is a public community college which offers students a 39 credit-hour medical assistant certificate program. Students can choose to enter into a part or full-time program. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to work in a medical office, hospital, lab, or as a private contractor.
UAC is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and the Higher Learning Commission.
6. Eastern College of Health Vocations-Little Rock
Eastern College of Heatlh Vocations – Little Rock is a private, for-profit higher learning institution which offers a medical assistant certificate program. ECHV-LR’s medical assistant program can be completed in as little as 10 months. The total estimated program cost is $10,700, and 71 percent of program graduates procure jobs in the field.
ECHV-LR is accredited through ABHES and licensed by the State of LA Board of Regents and the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education.
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