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How to Become a Medical Assistant in Arkansas – AR

Are you wondering how to become a medical assistant in Arkansas? Medical assistants perform the many administrative and patient care duties that help doctors' offices, hospitals, and other medical offices operate efficiently. In Arkansas, as in the rest of the country, the need for medical assistants will grow sharply in the coming years. An aging population with increased needs for medical services will help drive this growth.

Arkansas is a good state for medical assistant work. A 2009 salary survey of members of the American Association of Medical Assistants showed that with only one to two years of experience, MA’s in Arkansas earn an average of $24,500 annually, or approximately $14.12 an hour. For medical assistants with ten or more years of experience, the average annual earnings are about $34,969, or about $15.55 an hour. That's higher than the national range of $21,970 to $31,210 reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In Arkansas, medical assistants are not required to have a license; certification is also not needed. Although some medical assistants learn their skills on the job, today a higher level of training is needed to enter the field and be successful. Work experience is also very valuable for a medical assistant. Many accredited two-year programs from Arkansas’ medical assistant schools include an externship that offers practical experience and mentoring in a doctors' office, hospital, medical or dental clinic. General work experience in a healthcare setting is also helpful. The following are some basic guidelines for those interested in becoming medical assistants in Arkansas:

  • To get started, you'll need to graduate from high school or attain a GED. High school courses that offer training in administrative skills are useful background for becoming a medical assistant. Good courses to take include bookkeeping, computer skills, and basic math. Courses in medical or life sciences are also helpful.
  • Employers in Arkansas prefer to hire medical assistants who are graduates of accredited one or two-year training programs. A one-year course usually offers a certificate or diploma. Two-year courses provide an associate’s degree in medical assisting.
  • Employers much prefer trained medical assistants who are certified by a recognized professional organization. You must graduate from an accredited program to be eligible for certification. Upon graduation, you are qualified to take the exam to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (aama-ntl.org). Passing the exam lets you use the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) credential. As an alternative, you can become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) by passing the certification exam given by American Medical Technologists (amt1.com). The test requirements are very similar to those of the AAMA. Passing the exam from AMT lets you use the credential Registered Medical Assistant (AMT).

Medical Assistant Schools