Listed below are all of the schools offering Medical Assistant programs in Iowa. As a rule, you should contact at least 3-5 schools during the course of your research, and ideally more. There are important differences between the programs in terms of cost, admissions requirements, and other characteristics, and, as with many things in life, the way to find the best Medical Assistant program for your needs is to spend some time shopping around.
Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation and a popular career choice for the high school graduate or GED holder. In Iowa, you can earn a diploma in medical assisting with one year of college work and become certified by taking a national certification examination.
With a growing elderly population, the state of Iowa foresees an expansion of medical services, and the position of medical assistant will be an important part of that expansion. To find the medical assisting programs in Iowa that may work for you, simply contact the schools you find listed on this page and request more information.
Medical Assistant Education in Iowa
The medical assistant provides many of the essential services that keep a physician’s office or medical center running smoothly. In this versatile role, you may perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments and arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services, maintaining patient records, filling insurance forms, handling billing and coding, and other necessary office tasks.
Clinical duties include taking patient histories and vital signs, collecting and processing specimens, performing selected diagnostic tests, assisting the physician with examinations and treatments, and administering medications as directed by the physician.
The courses taken in an Iowa medical assisting program allow you, as a student, to learn about anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical laboratory and clinical procedures, examination room techniques, medical office management, medical office computer applications, and medical insurance and legalities. A practicum or externship often concludes the program.
There are 12 medical assisting programs in Iowa that are nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Ten of them are part of the Iowa community college system and provide an 11 month diploma program in medical assisting. You can contact these schools directly from our site by following the links.
At Iowa Central and at Iowa Lakes, the diploma graduate has the option of continuing with one or two more semesters of courses to complete the Associate of Applied Science degree. The two accredited private colleges are Kaplan University, which offers the Associate’s degree at five campuses, and Mercy College of Health Sciences that offers a one year certificate and a two-year Associate of Science in Medical Assisting program. Most of these colleges also offer related programs for medical office specialists, billing and coding, and medical transcription.
The application process for medical assisting school goes beyond entrance into the college. There will be additional requirements such as a high school biology course with a grade of C or better. Assessment is required to determine whether the student has the minimum level of reading, writing and math proficiency; these can be provided with ACT scores. One school has a minimum requirement of 35 wpm keyboarding skills. CPR certification is required upon admission into the program. Criminal background checks and immunization records must also be presented before certain courses or the practicum.
All applicants will complete the financial aid application forms, to determine eligibility for federal loans or grants. Each school will provide a list of scholarships available to students of that school. Early application is encouraged so that the student can take advantage of all that is offered.
Medical Assisting Careers in Iowa
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of medical assistants in Iowa is $30,610, which is about the same as the national average of $30,780. Salary.com reports that average salaries vary across the state and are higher in metropolitan areas, such as Des Moines at $31,251, and lower in rural areas, such as $25,410 at Sioux Falls.
With predictions by state agencies of a higher than average over-65 population and increasing need for direct care services, the job outlook for medical assistants is indeed promising. Take some time to get more information today, so you can take charge of your tomorrow.