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Medical assistants are responsible for both administrative and clinical duties in medical offices and facilities. Students in Rhode Island may choose to earn an associate's degree in the field from the New England Institute of Technology, or they can earn a medical assistant diploma from Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute or Lincoln Technical Institute.
New England Institute of Technology
Located in East Greenwich, the New England Institute of Technology has an Associate in Science in Clinical Medical Assistant program. Students take courses in clinical care techniques, word processing, clinical documents, medical transcription and medical administration. They also take anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and psychology. Other requirements include two clinical experiences and a clinical project. They must also take general education courses. In total, this associate's degree program usually takes about two years to complete. Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, which is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing.
Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute
Ridley-Lowell, which is in West Warwick offers a medical assistant program that provides both office and administrative training. The school has fewer than ten students enrolled in its undergraduate medical programs, so students can expect highly personalized instruction. Over the course of the program, they gain familiarity with medical terminology, study anatomy and physiology, and learn to administer CPR and conduct basic medical procedures. A clinical externship is required for graduation. Students also take career development courses that can help improve job prospects. Also, when students finish, they are prepared to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and CMA exams.
Lincoln Technical Institute
At the Lincoln, Rhode Island campus of Lincoln Technical institute, aspiring medical assistants can earn a medical assistant diploma. They include many of the same courses as associate's degree programs, but without the general education requirements. For instance, students are required to take courses in anatomy and physiology, phlebotomy, pharmacology, health administration and computer literacy. A unique course is the Virtual Medical Office, which provides a simulation of a clinic in order to familiarize students with standard medical techniques and office procedures. Students must also complete a clinical externship before they finish. For students who choose to take daytime courses, the program lasts 39 weeks, but those who enroll in the evening version will spend 54 weeks completing the required coursework.
While there are no licensing requirements for medical assistants, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that some employers prefer applicants who have obtained certification in the field. Graduates of the programs at the New England Institute of Technology and Ridley-Lowell are eligible for some certifications. It is important to note that the diploma program at Lincoln Tech does not prepare students for any nationally recognized certifications, but the school may offer assistance in finding an entry-level position after graduation.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Medical Assisting Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees|
|New England Institute of Technology||4-year, private, not-for-profit; small city||Associate in Science in Clinical Medical Assistant||$23,031 per year (2015-2016)*|
|Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute||Less than 2-year programs, private, for-profit; large suburb||Medical Assistant Diploma||$17,000 per year (2015-2016)*|
|Lincoln Technical Institute-Lincoln||Less than 2-year programs, private, for-profit; large suburb||Medical Assistant Diploma||$15,855 per year (2015-2016)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator