Iowa Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
If you’re looking for an entry-level career in the healthcare field, medical assisting is certainly something that you’ll want to look into. The state of Iowa is home to many schools that can provide individuals with the proper education needed to become a competitive candidate for employment as a medical assistant.
Today, there are approximately 3,500 medical assistants working in the state of Iowa. The average annual salary for these entry-level healthcare professionals is $29,406. Although medical assistants working in Iowa aren’t technically required by law to be state-licensed or certified nationally, it is highly encouraged in order for someone to be as competitive in the job market as possible.
Throughout the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the medical assistant field to grow by 34 percent in the next decade. With that in mind, it’s clear that now is an excellent time to begin training to be a medical assistant.
Top cities in Iowa for medical assisting jobs are:
- Des Moines
- Cedar Rapids
- Sioux City
- Iowa Falls
- Mason City
The state of Iowa has much more than good medical assistant programs. When you’re not busy with your studies, you can enjoy the abundance of natural beauty that’s present throughout the state. If you’re a person who loves the outdoors, Iowa won’t disappoint. Generally, most programs in the state can be completed in one to two years.
Iowa Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
In most instances, the medical assistant is the first person that you’ll meet during your visit to a physician’s office. Like other entry-level healthcare workers, medical assistants (MAs) are absolutely integral to the country’s healthcare system. However, unlike other entry-level healthcare positions, medical assistants can gain employment without any kind of credential or certification.
Despite not being required by law to hold a credential to practice, however, both aspiring and current medical assistants are highly encouraged to take the steps needed to earn one of the two nationally recognized credentials that are available. Credentialed medical assistants not only have a competitive edge over their coworkers, but also enhance their career prospects and boost their earning potential in the field.
Medical assistants seeking a certification have two options:
- The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Credential I: AAMA’s Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
Individuals who wish to sit for the AAMA’s Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential examination must first fulfill the following requirements:
- Show proof of having completed a college-level medical assisting program that has the accreditation of the one of the following organizations
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP)
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- The medical assisting program must:
- Be composed of two main components: theoretical and clinical
- Deliver both administrative and clinical instruction which may include course topics which include but certainly aren’t limited to record keeping and accounting, medication administration, human anatomy, physiology, computer competency, medical law & ethics, and pharmacology
- To maintain their credentials, CMAs must renew them every 60 months by passing a recertification exam or by taking continuing education credits
Credential II: AMTs Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
Individuals who wish to sit for the AMTs Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential examination must first fulfill ONE of the following requirements:
- Option 1: Provide proof of having completed a college-level medical assisting program that’s:
- Accredited by agencies which have been approved by:
- The US Department of Education
- The Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- AMT Board of Directors
- Made up of 720 hours of theoretical instruction and 160 hours of supervised clinical training at a local healthcare facility or physician’s office
- Accredited by agencies which have been approved by:
- Option 2: Provide proof of having been employed as a medical assistant for five of the last seven years, performing the two essential functions: clinical and administrative
- Option 3: Provide proof of having been employed as an instructor for a medical assisting program for no less than five years OR more than one year plus three years of regular employment in the field
- Option 4: Provide proof of having completed a medical assistant program through the U.S. Armed Forces that are comparable to college-level MA programs
- Program must have been composed of 880 total contact hours: 720 hours of in-class lecture and 160 hours of supervised clinical training at a healthcare center or doctor’s office
List of Iowa Medical Assisting Programs
1. Kirkwood Community College
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa City
Kirkwood Community College is a public, two-year community college that offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program that can be completed in three semesters and an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting (A.A.S.) that can be earned upon completion of additional general education courses. KCC’s medical assisting program has held continuous accreditation since 1972 and offers small class sizes and state-of-the-art classroom and lab facilities. The program enjoys an 88 percent pass rate for the national certification exam, an 82 percent retention rate, and a 70 percent job placement rate.
2. Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines Area Community College is a public community college that offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program that can be completed in just one year if it’s taken full-time or two years if taken part-time. Courses are offered during daytime hours. The program combines in-class instruction, hands-on lab practice, and a clinical externship at a healthcare facility to provide students with the administrative and clinical skills needed. Upon successful completion of the course, students know how to perform EKGs, obtain vitals, carrying out medical billing and coding procedures, file insurance claims, and more.
3. Ellsworth Community College
Location: Iowa Falls
Ellsworth Community College is public community college with a Medical Assistant Certificate program that can be completed in as little as 11 months. The program introduces students to medical terminology, medical law ethics, patient psychology and communications, medical office procedures, and a lot more. Following the completion of the in-class lecture and lab portions of the course, students will be required to complete a clinical externship at a local healthcare facility. In addition to these requirements, students will also need to complete a Basic Life Support course. ECC’s Medical Assistant Certificate program boasts a 100 percent graduate satisfaction rate and a 73 percent job placement rate.
4. Western Iowa Tech Community College
Location: Sioux City
Western Iowa Tech Community College is a public, two-year community college offering a 47 credit-hour Medical Assistant Certificate program that can be completed in two semesters plus a summer semester. During the program, students will encounter courses like Administrative Office Procedures, Medical Lab Techniques, Medical Law and Ethics, and others. In addition to in-class instruction, students will also have hands-on lab practice and a clinical externship. Over the past five years, WITCC’s Medical Assistant Certificate program has an average national exam pass rate of 87.5 percent.
5. Northeast Iowa Community College
Location: Calmar, Peosta
Northeast Iowa Community College is a public, two-year community college that offers students a 42 credit-hour Medical Assistant Certificate program that can be completed in about one year. The program combines in-person lectures, hands-on lab practice, and a clinical externship to teach students administrative and clinical skills. In the last five years, NICC boats a national certification exam pass rate of 93 percent, a retention rate of 90 percent, and a job placement rate of 92 percent.
6. Iowa Central Community College
Location: Fort Dodge, Webster City, Storm Lake
Iowa Central Community College is a public, two-year community college that offers students a Medical Assistant Certificate program that begins in the fall and concludes in the summer. Once students have completed the certificate program, they can opt to go on to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting (A.A.S.) degree. All students have to do complete 13 additional general education course credits. In the last academic year, 80 percent of the students who enrolled in the program graduated.
Article Written by Rachel Dennis
Rachel Dennis works as both a professional writer and health care provider. She has been a licensed health care provider since 1998, with work experience as a medical assistant, certified nursing assistant and emergency medical technician. She has been writing since 1994 and has been published both on-line and in print.
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