5 Best Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs | 2024

Prepare for the demands of entry-level healthcare roles with the best Accelerated Medical Assistant programs of 2024. Programs

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Discover the best Accelerated Medical Assistant programs available in 2024. Learn more about their nuances as we explore their prerequisites, requirements, salary expectations after graduation, and more.

What Is an Accelerated Medical Assistant Program?

An Accelerated Medical Assistant program is an intensive training course designed to prepare students for a career as a medical assistant in a shorter timeframe than traditional programs. These programs are tailored for individuals looking to quickly enter the healthcare field, often compressing the usual curriculum into a few months instead of a year or more. Despite the accelerated pace, these programs are available online and in-person and cover the essential clinical and administrative skills required for the role, ensuring graduates are ready to support healthcare teams in various settings.

Accelerated Medical Assistant Coursework

The coursework in an Accelerated Medical Assistant program is condensed to cover key topics and skills in a shorter period. Here's a list of common coursework topics you might encounter:

  • Medical Terminology: Fast-track learning of the language used in healthcare settings.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Intensive study of the human body and its systems to understand how they function and interrelate.
  • Pharmacology: Overview of common medications, their uses, and their effects on the body.
  • Clinical Procedures: Training in essential clinical skills, such as taking vital signs, administering injections, and assisting with minor surgical procedures.
  • Patient Care: Techniques for providing high-quality care, including patient communication and empathy.
  • Medical Law and Ethics: An accelerated overview of the legal and ethical standards in healthcare.
  • Medical Billing and Coding: Basics of the healthcare billing cycle, including coding diagnoses and procedures for insurance purposes.
  • Administrative Practices: Training in front-office tasks, like scheduling, patient check-in, and record management.
  • Emergency Care: Basic emergency procedures, including First Aid and CPR, tailored for quick learning.

Accelerated Medical Assistant Clinical Training

Clinical training in an accelerated program is designed to provide hands-on experience in a condensed format. This part of the program is crucial for applying theoretical knowledge to real-world healthcare settings. Common clinical training experiences include:

  • Patient Interaction: Developing bedside manner and communication skills through direct patient care.
  • Vital Signs Measurement: Learning to measure blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respiration rates.
  • EKG Administration: Training on performing electrocardiograms efficiently.
  • Phlebotomy: Gaining proficiency in blood drawing techniques for various tests and donations.
  • Injection Techniques: Mastering the safe administration of injections, including vaccines, medications, and other treatments.
  • Sterilization Techniques: Ensuring all instruments and surfaces are sterilized to prevent infection.
  • Assisting with Minor Surgeries: Learning to assist during minor surgical procedures, focusing on speed and accuracy.
  • Laboratory Procedures: Handling specimens and performing basic lab tests quickly and accurately.
  • Medical Record Keeping: Efficient management of patient records, emphasizing speed and confidentiality.

Best Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs in 2024

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Cal Regional

The Cal Regional Clinical Medical Assistant Program offers an accelerated pathway to begin a career as a Clinical Medical Assistant. This program is designed to provide hands-on training in various administrative, laboratory, and clinical duties. 

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: Can be completed in just 8 weeks, offering a fast track to certification and entry into the healthcare field.
  • Cost: The program is priced at $2,995 or less, making it an affordable option for those looking to quickly enter the medical field. Easy payment plans are available through partner schools.
  • Hybrid Learning: The course is a hybrid program, consisting of 50% online and instructor-led lectures and 50% labs, blending flexibility with practical experience.
  • Certification: Upon graduation, students are prepared to take the national exam for Medical Assistant Certification through the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA), with CALRegional students boasting a 90% passing rate.
  • Externship: The program includes a guaranteed 160-hour externship, providing valuable real-world experience and facilitating an easier transition into the workforce.
  • Locations: Available in multiple locations across California, including Fresno, Delano, and more, making it accessible to a wide range of students.

2. Phlebotomy Career Training

Phlebotomy Career Training offers a comprehensive Online Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA) program designed for those looking to enter the healthcare field efficiently. This program is entirely online, allowing students to learn at their own pace with access to personal instruction. 

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program is self-paced and can be completed in as little as 6 weeks, with up to 6 months allowed for course completion from the time of enrollment.
  • Curriculum: The course covers 996 hours of instruction and includes a required 204 hours of clinical internship experience. Key topics include taking vital signs, assisting with minor surgeries, performing injections and electrocardiograms, inpatient management, administrative tasks, and understanding HIPPA and OSHA regulations.
  • Certification: Upon completion, students need to pass the certification exam to receive their Medical Assistant Certification. The program offers national accrediting exams, allowing students to work anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Internship: A 204-hour clinical internship is required, providing hands-on experience in medical assistant clinical core requirements. Students are responsible for finding their internship locations, with urgent care centers, doctor's offices, hospitals, and clinics being popular choices.

3. University of Utah

The University of Utah offers a Clinical Medical Assistant Program designed to prepare students for a career as a medical assistant in a clinical setting. This hybrid program combines online coursework with in-person skill labs and clinical training, providing a comprehensive education and hands-on experience. 

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program includes 265 hours of curriculum, approximately 24 hours of in-person labs, and 180 hours of clinical training. It allows students up to one year to complete all requirements. With dedicated study, the program can be completed in as little as six months.
  • Cost: The full certificate tuition is $3,200 for the 2023-2024 academic year, subject to change. An apprenticeship option is available at a discounted tuition of $1,750, which includes paid clinical training with a commitment to work at the University of Utah Health after graduation.
  • Clinical Training: Students will participate in 180 hours of clinical training, offering an externship or apprenticeship option. The traditional program includes unpaid clinical training, while the apprenticeship option provides paid training.
  • Certification: Upon successful completion, students receive a University of Utah Clinical Medical Assistant Program completion certificate and a voucher to take the certification exam, preparing them to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Admission also requires passing a criminal background check, an 11-panel drug screening, and presenting documentation of required immunizations.
  • Location: The program is conducted online with monthly in-person labs located in downtown Salt Lake City.

4. U.S. Career Institute

The U.S. Career Institute (USCI) offers an Online Medical Assistant Program designed to prepare students for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). This self-paced course is structured to provide comprehensive training in both the clinical and administrative duties of a medical assistant.

Program Highlights:

  • Career Support: Tuition covers access to instructors, learning materials, student services, and one-on-one career coaching with a career advisor, providing a $400 value.
  • Real-world Skills: Focuses on practical skills needed for employment and preparation for industry certifications.
  • Course Outline: The curriculum covers Medical Terminology, Anatomy, First Aid, Preparing Patients for Exams, Administering Medications, Medical Insurance, Front Office Procedures, and more.
  • Duration: Complete the program in as little as 4 months, with a total of 495 clock hours.
  • Tuition & Financing: Offers an affordable tuition option of $1,239 when paid in full, with monthly payment plans available.

5. Penn Foster

Penn Foster offers an Online Medical Assistant Associate Degree program designed for individuals interested in the healthcare field and looking to gain the fundamental skills needed for healthcare industry roles. This program is structured to be completed at your own pace, providing a flexible learning environment that can accommodate any schedule.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months per semester, with an average completion time of 9 months per semester for students dedicating a few hours each week to their coursework.
  • Curriculum: Prepares students for careers in various healthcare settings, including doctors' offices, outpatient and urgent care clinics, and hospitals. The curriculum covers the basics of clinical procedures, anatomy, physiology, psychology, and prepares learners for industry certifications such as RMA, CCMA, NCMA, CMAC, and CPT.
  • Flexibility: Offers a self-paced schedule that allows students to start anytime and choose a payment plan that suits their needs.
  • Externship: Features a medical assistant externship as a standard part of the curriculum, providing 160 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of a certified medical professional.

Accelerated Medical Assistant Prerequisites & Requirements

Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs are designed for individuals who wish to enter the healthcare field rapidly. These programs have specific prerequisites and requirements to ensure that candidates are prepared for the fast-paced learning environment and can handle the condensed curriculum.

Accelerated Medical Assistant Prerequisites

Before enrolling in an Accelerated Medical Assistant program, students typically need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • High School Diploma or GED: Applicants must have completed high school or possess a GED certificate to demonstrate basic educational attainment.
  • Minimum Age Requirement: Candidates are often required to be at least 18 years old to enroll in the program.
  • Healthcare Experience: Some programs may prefer or require applicants to have prior experience in healthcare, although this is not always mandatory.
  • Background Check: A clean criminal background check is usually required to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers.
  • Immunization Records: Up-to-date immunization records may be necessary, especially for clinical training components in healthcare settings.
  • Basic Computer Skills: Given the accelerated nature of the program and potential online components, basic computer literacy is essential.
  • English Proficiency: For programs in English-speaking countries, non-native speakers may need to prove their proficiency in English to ensure they can keep up with the coursework.

Accelerated Medical Assistant Requirements

To complete an Accelerated Medical Assistant program and become eligible for certification, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Completion of Coursework: Students must complete all required coursework within the accelerated timeframe, demonstrating mastery of both clinical and administrative skills.
  • Clinical Training: A certain number of hours of clinical training in a healthcare setting is required, providing hands-on experience with real patients.
  • Examinations: Passing program-specific exams, which may include both written and practical tests, is necessary to show competency in medical assisting skills.
  • Certification Exam: While not always a requirement of the program itself, students are typically encouraged or required to sit for a certification exam, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, to improve their employment prospects.
  • Technical Requirements: Students need to maintain access to the necessary technology, including computers and internet connection, for any online components of the program.
  • Professional Behavior: Adherence to a code of professional behavior and ethics is required throughout the program, reflecting the standards expected in healthcare settings.

Medical Assistant Salary Expectations

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for Medical Assistants in the state is $38,720, or $18.40 per hour.

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for other occupations.

While these figures are directional, it's important to consider the various factors that affect salary expectations, such as geography, years of experience, employer, level of education, and more.

The top-paying states include:

  • Washington: $50,350
  • District of Columbia: $50,020
  • Alaska: $49,400
  • California: $47,850
  • Minnesota: $47,330

Are Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs Worth It?

Whether accelerated Medical Assistant programs are worth it depends on individual career goals, learning preferences, and the urgency to enter the workforce. Here's a look at their pros and cons to help determine if they're the right choice for you.

Pros of Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs

  1. Quick Entry into the Workforce: Accelerated programs are ideal for individuals looking to quickly start a healthcare career. Graduates can enter the job market sooner than those in traditional programs.
  2. Cost-Effective: Since these programs are shorter, they often cost less in terms of tuition and living expenses, making them a financially viable option for many students.
  3. Intensive Learning Experience: The fast-paced nature of the curriculum ensures that students are fully immersed in their studies, which can enhance learning and retention of information.
  4. Flexible Scheduling: Many accelerated programs offer flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend classes, which can be beneficial for students working or managing other responsibilities.
  5. Career Advancement Opportunities: Completing a medical assistant program quickly allows for earlier career advancement opportunities, including further education and specialization in the healthcare field.

Cons of Accelerated Medical Assistant Programs

  1. Highly Demanding: The condensed nature of these programs means a more intense workload and less downtime, which can be stressful and challenging for some students.
  2. Limited Depth of Study: While covering essential skills and knowledge, the accelerated pace may limit the depth of study in certain areas compared to traditional programs.
  3. Reduced Networking Opportunities: The quick progression through the program may offer fewer opportunities for networking with peers and instructors, which can be valuable for career development.
  4. Adaptability Required: The fast pace requires students to quickly adapt to new information and skills, which may not suit all learning styles.
  5. Potential Employer Perceptions: Some employers may have reservations about the comprehensiveness of accelerated programs, preferring graduates from longer, traditional programs.

Importance of Picking an Accredited Accelerated Medical Assistant Program

Choosing an accredited Accelerated Medical Assistant program is crucial for several reasons:

  • Quality Education: Accreditation ensures the program meets high standards for curriculum, faculty, and student resources, providing a quality education that prepares students for the workforce.
  • Certification Eligibility: Graduates from accredited programs are eligible to sit for national certification exams, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, which is often required by employers.
  • Employment Opportunities: Employers prefer hiring graduates from accredited programs, recognizing their comprehensive training and readiness for the medical assisting role.
  • Transfer Credits: Credits from an accredited program are more likely to be accepted by other institutions if you decide to pursue further education.

The primary accrediting bodies for Medical Assistant programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Medical Assistant Programs Near Me

Discover the best Medical Assistant programs in the following states:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How does the pass rate for the medical assistant exam compare between accelerated and traditional programs?

The pass rate for the medical assistant exam can vary widely between programs, regardless of whether they are accelerated or traditional. However, accredited programs, both accelerated and traditional, strive to prepare students thoroughly for certification exams. The key factor is the quality of the program and its curriculum, not necessarily the length of the program. Prospective students should inquire about pass rates when considering a program.

Q: Can I work full-time while enrolled in an Accelerated Medical Assistant program?

While it's possible to work full-time while enrolled in an Accelerated Medical Assistant program, it can be quite challenging due to the intensive nature of the coursework and clinical training requirements. Some students may opt for part-time employment or choose programs that offer evening or weekend classes to better accommodate their work schedule. Time management and organizational skills are crucial for balancing work, studies, and other responsibilities.

Q: Are there financial aid options available for Accelerated Medical Assistant programs?

Financial aid options are often available for students enrolled in accredited Accelerated Medical Assistant programs. This can include federal financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loan programs. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and also check with the financial aid office of the institution offering the program for specific opportunities and eligibility requirements.

Q: What is the difference between online learning and on-campus experiences in Accelerated Medical Assistant programs?

Online learning in Accelerated Medical Assistant programs offers flexibility and convenience, allowing students to complete coursework from anywhere with Internet access. However, it requires self-discipline and motivation. On-campus experiences provide more direct interaction with instructors and peers, which can enhance learning and networking opportunities. Both formats typically require in-person clinical training or externships in healthcare facilities to ensure hands-on experience.

Q: How do Accelerated Medical Assistant programs ensure students gain sufficient experience in drawing blood and performing other clinical tasks?

Accelerated Medical Assistant programs incorporate clinical training and externships as a core component of the curriculum, ensuring students gain hands-on experience in healthcare settings under the supervision of experienced healthcare professionals. This training includes drawing blood, administering injections, scheduling appointments, and performing other clinical and administrative tasks. Programs often partner with local healthcare facilities to provide these practical experiences, ensuring students are well-prepared for the medical field upon graduation.

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