Choosing the right program that suits your caliber as well as stands out to potential employers is not easy. Evaluating several factors comes into the picture. Your first point of consideration should be to select a university that has national accreditation so that you’re eligible to take the medical assistant certification examinations later on.
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Mississippi state usually offers its MA aspirants a diploma course, which is a fast track learning program, and an associate degree in applied sciences. The course duration of medical assistant programs in Mississippi usually depends upon the degree you’ve opted for. Associate degrees are for 4 semesters, whereas diplomas get completed sooner between 9 to 12 months in MS.
As the numbers of medical assistant programs in the state are considerably high, the tuition fees are quite affordable when compared to the other states of the US. MA associate programs in Mississippi cost around $10,000, whereas diplomas provided by community colleges start as low as $1,000. However, there might be additional costs relating to stationery, books, and other essentials.
The costs mentioned are not absolute, and it must be kept in mind that out-state fees often differ from in-state fees. So, if you’re an outstation candidate seeking admission for the best medical assistant programs in MS, you must keep a hefty tuition fee bracket in mind.
While excellent medical assistant programs abound in the state of Mississippi, zeroing in on the ideal course for you should take considerable background research from your end. It is essential to procure a medical assistant degree from the top medical assistant schools in the state.
Though most of the states, including Mississippi, do not need you to have a training degree, it is better if you do have one. That’s because, having a medical assistant degree gives you practical hands-on information about the fields, prepares you for it, and also gives you a competitive edge over your peers. Selecting the right medical assistant school can seem very daunting at first glance, and with the presence of conflicting opinions on the internet, it can be quite challenging to make up your mind and make the right choice.
Evaluating the colleges based on credit hours, externship opportunities, faculty details, and placement records can help you make the right choice for your ideal medical assistant school. As this is a professional course, other points of consideration include financial aid, student-teacher ratio, state-of-the-art lab facilities, etc. Unfortunately, not a lot of colleges make the cut for the best ratings, but an overview of the best medical assistant schools in Mississippi has been provided below.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree to its MA aspirants. It is a 4-semester medical assistant training program that requires one to complete 63 total credits. Admissions usually begin in the fall. As the college has ABHES accreditation, all MAs graduating from this college are qualified to take the CMA certification or RMA certification. The program fee is around $300 per semester, and the college takes admission on a selective basis.
The students are scored and ranked according to their ACCUPLACER test scores, and then only the top rankers are given preference for admission based on the availability of classroom enrolments in a particular term. Students are required to maintain a GPA of 2 every semester and procure a minimum grade C. Other requirements like CPR certification, HIPPA training, and hospital orientation might be asked for, depending upon clinical rotational placement.
|Number of Courses||Associate's Degree|
The Northeast Mississippi Community College offers two courses to its medical assistant aspirants, a certificate program that continues for 11 months, and an associate degree program, which is a 2-year program. The certificate course in medical assisting technology requires successful completion of 45 hours and makes students eligible for taking the CMA examination sponsored by AAMA. Students need to procure a minimum of grade C in all their coursework to graduate. The course is constituted both of class hours as well as clinical responsibilities.
The AAS degree needs a total fulfillment for 70 hours, and they have to complete specific additional courses after they have earned the first year certificate course. Federal financial aid opportunities abound in this college, and candidates are offered and encourage several scholarships and grants like Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and others.
|Number of Courses||Certificate, Associate's Degree|
It offers a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) program at two of its locations in Mississippi. The registration fee for the course is $250, and it is usually a 7-8 month training program. The program cost at the college is inclusive of books, lab supplies, and certification exam, which makes it one of the most affordable degree options in the state. Particular attention is paid to attendance, and a tardy student missing 10 minutes of class time on two days is considered to have incurred an absence.
As the students meet for classes three times a week, the accepted level of absences for class meetings is three, and for clinical rotations one. The CCMA program here boasts of fast-paced coursework, which requires the students to compete for tests and reading assignments daily. The college takes admission based on the WorkKeys assessment score, which should not be less than silver. This community college also encourages students to apply for scholarships and financial aids, which are available in plenty, for interested students.
|Number of Courses||Certificate|
|Campus||Wesson, MS / Natchez, MS|
It offers a CCMA program to MA aspirants in MS. In the 500-hour program, constituted by class hours and clinical duties, students meet for four days a week from Monday to Thursday. Sponsored by PRCC’s Workforce education program, it does not count for college credits. It prepares students to take the National Health Career Association certification exam. It provides customized yet specialized industry-specific training to its MA aspirants.
The program fee is again at par with Copiah-Lincoln Community College for this course, which is the cheapest and the easiest on pocket MA program in the state. There is an application packet that is supposed to be completed, without which you won’t be considered eligible for the interview. The MA program at PRCC is still in its infancy, and they have produced their first graduation batch in March 2020 only.
|Number of Courses||Certificate|
Delta Technical College offers students a medical assistant diploma that can be completed in 9 months, as opposed to other lengthy courses available in community colleges. They train you professionally for employment, and their placement records are quite impressive. The training program makes you eligible for taking the National Medical Assistant Certification (NCMA) examination as well as the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) exam.
This 35-week long course requires students to earn 26.5 total credits and complete 765 clock hours, including 225 hours of externship. It also requires students to complete another 135 outside clock hours. Daytime as well as evening classes are available for this diploma course. The first and last coursework modules of the program are fixed, but students can take the rest of them in random order.
|Number of Courses||Diploma|
|Campus||Horn Lake, MS / Ridgeland, MS|
The school offers a course in medical assisting technology training that requires you to complete a total of 65 credit hours (inclusive of pre-requisite courses). Constituted of both class and clinical hours, the program lasts over 3 semesters. Retention of students is a perfect 100%, as per the latest data of 2018 available on the college website. At the same time, the college prides on a consecutive retention rate of 90.74% for the past 5 years, and their cumulative exam pass rate also stands at 88.64% for the same period.
Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2 across the semesters, and a minimum C grade is needed at each MET program to procure the training certificate. Admissions usually start before fall, as the course begins in the fall semester. MA aspirants are required to provide CPR certification and immunization proof for MMR before their classes commence.
|Number of Courses||Associate's Degree|
Concorde Career College offers a diploma as well as an associate degree to medical assistants in the state, all across its 16 campus locations. The diploma provided in Southaven campus is a 7-month long program, which requires a commitment of 720 contact hours over 30 instructional weeks. This full-time diploma has classes happening in the daytime as well as evening and needs students to complete 29.33 semester credits. The program cost is above $15,000, which also includes the cost of books.
The AAS degree, offered by Concorde Career College, is a 17-month course, which needs you to earn 62.33 credit hours over 70 instructional weeks. This full-time course requires a commitment of 1,215 contact hours. Financial grants and scholarships are available to students who qualify the requirements specified on the college website.
|Number of Courses||Diploma, Associate's Degree|
This College offers a Clinical Medical Assistant training diploma to its MA aspirants. It offers a day as well as night classes. The program length for daytime and night time candidates is 9 months and 15 months, respectively. The tuition fee for the night program is $16,531, whereas for the day course is $14,031. The supplies are not inclusive of the program fees and come for an additional $1,850 for both the program courses.
Their classes enroll new students every 6 weeks and have lab practices and externship along with full-time class hours. The college requires all the applicants to review and sign a document called ‘guidelines for practicing injections’ before admission.
|Number of Courses||Diploma|
The diploma in medical assistant provided by the Institute for Health and Technology is a 9-month course, which prepares MAs in Mississippi for entry-level employment. Classes are offered in the daytime as well as in the evenings, to accommodate student convenience. Externship is a requirement in this program to give students practical knowledge and relevant experience. Candidates meet four days a week from Monday to Thursday for 4 hours every day.
This course requires students to do 16 hours of classes per week, and full-time students can entirely complete their program, in a fast track manner, in 41 weeks. To help students financially, numerous scholarships, federal grants, and financial opportunities are provided. Besides, an exam review class is taken to aid students for certification exams by preparing them methodologically and holistically.
|Number of Courses||Certificate|
|Campus||Hattiesburg, MS / Jackson, MS|
Choosing a renowned university is of major significance, but what garners more importance to candidates is the medical assistant degree they procure. You increase your chances of employability, and add value to your credentials, by choosing the right degree. Search for the top medical assistant degrees in MS.
Though the state of Mississippi does not mandate a degree for MA aspirants to practice their profession or define their scope of practice, it is best if you procure a MA certification post the completion of your medical assistant degree. As medical assistants are appointed by medical professions and physicians in the state, they do not need formal training or certifications in theory. There are no laws in the state guiding the recruitment of medical assistants.
However, in practice, employers seek specialized skills that only coveted and accredited MA degrees provide. Also, procuring certification not only increases your employability chance but also helps you advance your career. The best certification that you can consider obtaining is CMA (Certified Medical Assistant), sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be eligible to have this certification, your MA degree should be from a university that has an ABHES or CAAHEP accreditation.
The CMA examination can be taken in Prometric examination centers across MS, and usually need you to answer 200 multiple choice questions in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Another certification that has considerable value nationwide is RMA (Registered Medical Assistant), which can be procured if you’ve been enrolled in a MA program that has 720 hours of total credits, with 160 hours of dedicated externship.
If you have medical training under US Army or relevant work experience as a MA for 5 years, you’re eligible for the degree as well. Other licenses that can boost your credentials include the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP)’s NRCMA degree, National Health Career Association’s CCMA certification, and National Center for Competency Training (NCCT)’s NCMA training.
The total number of medical assistants employed in the state of Mississippi is 3,590, as per the latest data updated in May 2019 on the BLS government website. The employment per 1,000 jobs in MS is 3.18.
The 5 industries employing the highest number of MAs in the state are given below:
|Ambulatory Health Care Services||2,730|
|Offices of Physicians||1,910|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||710|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||500|
Source: BLS (as of May 2019)
The health sector is the largest growing industry in the state and is known for providing next-generation healthcare to its citizens as per government data. Hence, it is apparent that the state values its healthcare and allied health care personnel, and the recruitment of professionals in this sector is only likely to increase in the upcoming years. As Census Bureau data reveals, the aged population of MS is growing at a rapid rate, faster than the rest of the country.
Moreover, reports from the US Census Bureau estimate that 25.3% of its population would turn 60 by 2030. It would definitely call for more primary caregivers, and the increase in demand for physicians would be met by physicians delegating clinical and administrative tasks to more medical assistants. Hence, the profession of medical assistants in MS is only expected to rise in the upcoming years, as also depicted by projection data below.
|Projected Employment Growth in 10 Years||Annual Projected Jobs||Growth %|
|Mississippi||2,910 (2016)||3,260 (2026)||360||12%|
|National||686,600 (2018)||841,500 (2028)||99,700||23%|
The employment rate of top medical assistants in MS is expected to grow at a rate of 12% from 2016 to 2026. Though the growth is lower than the national average, there is no shortage for the number of opportunities available to MA aspirants in the state. Short term projection data reveals an upward slope demand graph for medical assistants in Mississippi. There would be a 1.5% growth between 2019 and 2021, as MA vacancies go up from 3,230 to 3,280, in the respective years.
The digital revolution has motivated the health sector in the country, as all systems have gone digital. Electronic processing and monitoring require more medical assistants trained in the specialized sectors to be appointed to handle the medical institutions effectively and efficiently.
This state-wide organization brings together all medical health professionals, trying to promote and improve the professional knowledge of the health sector. You can know about the latest health-related news and be updated with job opportunities here.
Responsible for ensuring the well-being, survival, and sustenance of all citizens of the state, it is also useful for staying abreast of health-related news in Mississippi.
Dedicated to improving the standard of living of residents and improving public opinion, this is an excellent place for information regarding education, employment opportunities, and development options for healthcare professionals.
The page describes all the delegable duties of a medical assistant and their scope of practice under the Mississippi State Board Medical Licensure.
Written by : Casey Gardner
Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator. She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant, and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.
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