Medical assisting is a fantastic choice for those looking to begin a career in the medical field. Medical assistants (MAs) not only enjoy taking care of patients directly, but they also help manage medical offices by performing a variety of administrative tasks. Additionally, medical assisting is an in-demand career; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical assistants is expected to increase 23% until 2028 - a higher-than-average increase among all professions.

Medical assisting programs are ideal for those looking for an entry-level healthcare career that has room to grow. They are quick, economical, and pave the way for future advancement to LPN/LVN or registered nurse careers down the line. Online program options have made it even easier to get started on a medical assisting education.

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Choosing an Online Medical Assistant Program

More and more colleges, universities, and vocational schools are offering online programs to help support students in their journey to a new career. The following are factors to consider when researching online medical assisting programs:

Advantages of Online Programs

One of the main advantages of an online MA program is the flexibility it offers. Online programs allow students to learn at their own pace and at any time. This is beneficial for those needing to work while attending school, and for those who must balance a family along with school obligations. Additionally, students have a wider range of schools to choose from as they can select an out-of-state school if needed. Moreover, students don't have to worry about taking extra time to commute as well as the extra cost for transportation/gas, parking, etc.

RELATED: Medical Assistant Salary - What To Expect

Program Accreditation

Students should be careful when selecting an online program - more and more online programs are popping up, so students need to ensure the program they choose is properly accredited. The program should be accredited by a reputable agency such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Selecting a program without proper accreditation could jeopardize future employment - a risk not worth taking.

Program Type

Students interested in medical assisting have a few different online educational routes they can choose from, depending on their career goals and needs.

Certificate/Diploma

Medical assistant schools tend to use these terms interchangeably, but they are essentially the same thing. Certificates and diplomas in medical assisting consist of a curriculum of basic medical assisting courses and generally take less than a year to complete. They are commonly found in technical/vocational schools, community colleges, and some universities. Purdue University Global, for example, offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program with online coursework that has 4 enrollment periods per year.

Associate Degree

The associate degree program in medical assisting also offers specialized medical assisting coursework, but also includes general education courses. Due to this, associate degree MA programs tend to be a little longer compared to certificate/diploma programs. The advantage of the associate degree program is that some employers may favor this type of degree, leading to more employment opportunities and even higher salaries. Herzing University offers a 16-month online Associate Degree Medical Assisting program.

Medical Administrative Assistant Program

While most traditional medical assistant programs include some training on administrative duties, a more niche program for those interested in the admin side of the profession is the Medical Administrative Assistant program. This type of program focuses more on front-office managerial and administrative duties of healthcare practices rather than back-office patient care. A good medical administrative assistant program will prepare graduates to take the National Healthcare Association's Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam and possibly even the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam.

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RELATED: What Is the Difference Between a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)?

Costs and Length

The cost of an online MA program is usually the same as on-campus options; however, some schools may charge out-of-state tuition. Students are highly encouraged to view the tuition and fees on the school's website. Again, while online programs allow for a broader selection of schools, it's important to understand the total costs, including any state residency requirements. Prospective students should research not just tuition fees, but also additional expenses (such as books, supplies, and mandatory school fees), and financial aid options before enrolling in any MA program.

The length of time it takes to complete an online MA program may be shorter than traditional campus-based programs, depending on the school. Some schools offer accelerated programs and courses which reduces the time it takes to earn a certificate. On average, it can take about nine months to a year to complete an MA certificate or diploma program. Those pursuing an associate degree medical assistant program may need to take additional coursework, thus the program is often around 1.5-2 years in length.

For an example regarding online expenses, U.S. Career Institute's medical assistant program tuition for its 100% online program ranges from $1,439 to $1,539 depending on the payment method.

Medical Assistant Classes & Online Coursework

Specific courses in a medical assisting program can vary between schools, but the core concepts remain consistent. Medical assistants must learn both clinical and administrative tasks. Additionally, prerequisite education may also be required. General education requirements that may be required to enroll in an MA program include:

  • English writing
  • College-level algebra
  • Courses in humanities, psychology, anatomy/physiology, or sociology
  • Computer literacy

Once in the MA program, coursework includes concepts in:

  • Anatomy (if not completed previously)
  • Medical terminology
  • Law and Ethics
  • General medical assisting concepts (administering injections, taking vital signs, taking a medical history, simple wound care, etc.)
  • Medical insurance and coding
  • Telephone procedures
  • Patient reception
  • Documentation
  • Scheduling

It's important to note that online MA programs often still require some hands-on clinical training through externships at healthcare facilities in the student's local area. Inquire with your school of choice for more information regarding clinical requirements.

Medical Assistant Admission Requirements

Admission to medical assistant programs can also vary between schools, but general admission requirements may include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Proficient English reading and writing skills
  • Proof of residency
  • TB clearance
  • Meet vaccine requirements

Additionally, some schools require certain courses, such as medical terminology, before admission into an MA program, while some incorporate that into the program curriculum. For those seeking an associate's degree MA program, other courses may be required.

RELATED: Medical Assistant (MA) to Registered Nurse (RN)

List of Online Medical Assistant Programs

Ready to get started on your medical assisting journey? Browse the list below to find an accredited online Medical Assistant program and take the first step toward a rewarding healthcare career!

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Select Your State:

Alabama

SchoolContact Information
South University
Medical Assistant Programs
5355 Vaughn Rd
Montgomery, AL 36116
(334) 395-8800

Alaska

SchoolContact Information
Charter College-Anchorage
2221 E Northern Lights Blvd Ste 120
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 277-1000
Charter College-Wasilla
Medical Assistant Programs
721 W Parks Hwy
Wasilla, AK 99654
(907) 352-1000

Arkansas

SchoolContact Information
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
Medical Assistant Programs
183 College Drive
De Queen, AR 71832
(870) 584-4471

California

SchoolContact Information
Carrington College - Sacramento
Medical Assistant Programs
8909 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95826
(916) 585-7770
Cerro Coso Community College
3000 College Heights Blvd
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
(760) 384-6100
Fresno City College
Medical Assistant Programs
1101 E. University Ave
Fresno, CA 93741
(559) 442-4600
Modesto Junior College
Medical Assistant Programs
435 College Ave
Modesto, CA 95350
(209) 575-6550
Modesto Junior College
Medical Assistant Programs
435 College Ave
Modesto, CA 95350
(209) 575-6550
San Joaquin Valley College
Medical Assistant Programs
8344 West Mineral King Ave.
Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 651-2500
Santa Monica College
Medical Assistant Programs
1900 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000

Florida

SchoolContact Information
American College for Medical Careers
Medical Assistant Programs
5959 Lake Ellenor Lake
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 738-4488
Fortis College
Medical Assistant Programs
19600 S Dixie Hwy
Cutler Bay, FL 33157
(178) 634-5530 x0
Keiser University
Medical Assistant Programs
1500 NW 49th St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
(954) 776-4476
Miami Dade College
Medical Assistant Programs
300 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 237-8888
Rasmussen College
9160 Forum Corporate Parkway Suite 100
Fort Myers, FL 33905
(239) 477-2100

Georgia

SchoolContact Information
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Medical Assistant Programs
One Maurice Culberson Drive
Rome, GA 30161
(706) 291-3350
Savannah Technical College
Medical Assistant Programs
5717 White Bluff Rd
Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 443-5700

Louisiana

SchoolContact Information
Fortis College
Medical Assistant Programs
9255 Interline Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 248-1015

Pennsylvania

SchoolContact Information
Bucks County Community College - Bristol
Medical Assistant Programs
1304 Veterans Highway
Bristol, PA 19007
(267) 685-4800
Bucks County Community College - Newton
Medical Assistant Programs
275 Swamp Road
Newtown, PA 18940
(215) 968-8000

Wisconsin

SchoolContact Information
Southwest Tech
Medical Assistant Programs
1800 Bronson Blvd
Fennimore, WI 53809
(608) 822-3262

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