Arkansas Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Arkansas help other medical professionals efficiently treat patients.  Medical assistants are responsible for administrative tasks, as well as clinical tasks.  The responsibilities of medical assistants can include, but are not limited to:

  • Taking and tracking patient’s vital signs
  • Assisting physicians and nurse practitioners during patient exams
  • Recording patients’ history
  • Administering shots, under the oversight of a physician
  • Scheduling appointments and other clerical duties
  • Transferring patients’ charts to Electronic Health Records
  • Giving post-appointment instructions to patients
  • Completing Insurance Forms

Medical Assistant Certification in Arkansas

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It is not necessary to be certified as a medical assistant in Arkansas, but certification can lead to more job offers and an increased salary.  Certified medical assistants have demonstrated competency in the skills necessary to work as a medical assistant.  Although there is not legal educational requirement, most employers will require either a high school diploma or GED.

There are several associations that certify medical assistants and other, similar, professions:

How to become a CMA in Arkansas through the AAMA

Step 1: Complete a Medical Assistant Program that is Accredited

There are a number of schools that have medical assisting programs.  They can be found online and throughout Arkansas.  Tuition, prerequisites, length and curriculum will vary at these programs, so people should compare several.  Regardless of what program is chosen, it should be accredited by the AAMA.

In addition to this program, prospective CMAs must complete a clinical training practicum.  This is usually an unpaid, supervised internship.

Step 2: Apply for and Pay for the CMA Exam

The application for the CMA exam is available here.  After sending in the exam application, people should expect to hear from the CMA Certification Department within a month of receive the application.  They usually email applicants about the status of their application.

Step 3: Schedule the CMA Exam

After an exam is processed, applicants will receive an email containing instructions for scheduling the CMA exam.  This email is sent within 20 days of the application’s completed processing.  It begins a 90-day testing period, during which the exam must be schedules.  A permit that allows applicants to schedule the exam will be in the email, and the permit must be brought to the exam.

Step 4: Study for the CMA Exam

Applicants will have to prepare for the exam, as it is difficult.  All CMA training programs should provide students with review materials and practice exams.  In addition to these, review courses might be offered at a nearby school or through the local CMA chapter (see below).

Step 5: Pass the Exam and Be Certified

Everyone who passes the exam receives a Certified Medical Assistant Certificate and be listed on the CMA Status Website.

Career Outlook for CMAs in Arkansas

According to CareerOneStop.org, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, there is a projected growth rate over 30 percent for medical assistants in the United States.  The demand for medical assistants in Arkansas is expected to increase 36 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is above the national average.  This should result in 90 open positions each year for CMAs.

State and National Trends

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Arkansas

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

1,920

2,600

+36%

90

1Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

Salaries Projections for CMAs in Arkansas

The latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average annual salary for a CMA in Arkansas is $12.49.  Working full time, this would result in an annual salary of $25,980.

Below lists several cities/regions and their average hourly/annual salary

  • Little Rock, Arkansas: $14.03 / $29,180
  • Fayetteville: $13.54 / $28,160
  • Pine Bluff: $10.53 / $21,900
  • Central Arkansas Non Metro Area: $13.28 / $27,620

Transferring Certification and Recertifying

Since the CMA certificate is issued by the AAMA, which is a national entity, certificates can be transferred to any state.  They are valid for five years, at which point in time all CMAs must go through a recertification process.  To read more about recertification with the AAMA, click here.

Local Chapters

Arkansas does not have any local chapters of the AAMA, but the active state association can be found at http://arsma.org.

Sources and Helpful Resources: