Montana Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs

Montana is a beautiful state with a nice mixture of urban and rural areas. Rural Montana attracts tourists which helps boost the state’s seasonal populations and supports the state’s medical systems. There are many medical centers throughout Montana that offer medical assistant employment.
The top cities in Montana for medical assistant employment are:

  • Missoula
  • Billings
  • Great Falls
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Montana may only have a few schools that offer medical assisting programs, but the state does frequently hire medical assistants. You may need to consider obtaining your MA education out of state if schools in Montana don’t suit your needs. Becoming certified as a medical assistant is important as more and more employers are requiring it. Be sure to ask about your school’s certification opportunities after graduation.

Montana Medical Assistant Certification Requirements

In the state of Montana, there are no laws which demand that medical assistants (MAs) hold institutionally recognized credentials in order to be employable in the field. This contrasts sharply with fellow allied healthcare professionals like nursing assistants (CNAs), practical nurses (LPNs), and phlebotomy technicians (CPTs), among others. Despite compulsory credentials for MAs currently not existing, however, there are two nationally recognized certifications available to MAs who would like to boost their career prospects, expand their earning potential, and gain a competitive edge over their co-workers.

Presently, the two nationally recognized certification in the field of medical assisting are:

  1. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential offered by The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
  2. The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential offered by The American Medical Technologists (AMT)

CERTIFICATION I: The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

Healthcare professionals who’re looking to acquire the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential must satisfy ONE of the following requirements before they’re eligible to sit for the AMT’s credential exam:

  • Pathway I: Successfully complete a traditional college-level medical assistant program which has the following features:
    • Is composed of a total of 880 contact hours: 720 hours of theoretical instruction and 160 hours of real-world clinical practice at a local medical office under the supervision of an instructor/professional
    • The institution which administers the MA program must be regionally or nationally accredited by agencies that have been approved by:
      • The American Medical Technologists Board of Directors
      • The US Department of Education
      • The Council of Higher Education Accreditation
    • Pathway II: Provide documentation of prior work experience as a medical assistant
      • Credential seekers will need to have worked at least 5 years as a medical assistant, performing clinical and administrative duties, in the previous 7 years
    • Pathway III: Provide documentation of prior work experience as a medical assistant program instructor
      • Credential seekers must have worked at least 5 years as a medical assistant program instructor OR one or more years as an instructor combined with three or more years of MA work experiences in the field
    • Pathway IV: Successfully complete a medical assistant program through the US Armed Forces that are equivalent to a traditional college-level program and has:
      • A total of 880 contact hours: 720 hours of didactic classroom instruction and 160 hours of supervised, hands-on clinical training at a medical office

CERTIFICATION II: The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Healthcare professionals who would like to gain the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential must fulfill the following requirements before they can become eligible to sit for the AAMA’s credential exam:

  • Provide documentation of having successfully completed a medical assistant program that has been approved by:
  • The program must contain the following:
    • Two main sections of study: theoretical and clinical
    • Coursework that is comprised of both clinical and administrative topics which include but aren’t limited to subjects like medical law & ethics, patient relations, pharmacology, medication administration, clinical and diagnostic procedures, anatomy, physiology, office practices, and computer competency
  • CMAs must renew their certifications every 60 months, and can do so by:
    • Passing a 200-question exam
    • Providing documentation of having completed a certain amount of continuing education credits

List of Montana Medical Assisting Programs

1. Flathead Valley Community College

Location: Kalispell

FVCC offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in medical assisting. Education is combined with core medical and administrative courses as well as liberal arts courses for a broad learning experience. The AAS degree is a great choice for students looking for advancement opportunities in the medical assistant field, or those who may want to further their education later on. The college allows 12 students per year to the program; a waiting list may occur for admission. Prerequisites may also be required before entrance to the program. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants.

2. Montana State University

Location: Billings

Montana State University offers a medical administrative assistant degree for medical assistants who want to focus on clerical work. The course focuses on skills required to effectively run a medical office, including computer entry, medical records management, scheduling and telephone etiquette, and medical billing/collection. A certificate is offered in this program. Credits earned in this course may apply to an advanced medical administration degree, such as the associate degree program.

3. Great Falls College Montana State University

Location: Great Falls

Great Falls College Montana State University is a community college that offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The 65 credit-hour program can be completed in as little as two years. During this time, students will attend in-class lectures, take part in lab practice, and complete a hands-on clinical externship at a local healthcare facility. In total, the program costs $12,200.

4. Highlands College of Montana Tech

Location: Butte

Highlands College of Montana Tech is a public university which offers students an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting which trains students in both office administrative skills and clinical skills. Following the successful completion of the program, students will be well-versed in billing, coding, administering medication, drawing blood, and more. The program is comprised of 69 credit-hours and can be completed in four semesters. HCoMT’s Medical Assisting A.A.S. degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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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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