11 Best Online Medical Assistant Programs | 2024

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

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Discover the best online 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 Online Medical Assistant Program?

An online Medical Assistant program is a form of distance education designed to prepare students for a career as a medical assistant, a crucial role within the healthcare industry. These programs offer a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills related to medical assisting, allowing students to learn at their own pace from anywhere with internet access. The curriculum typically covers a wide range of topics, including medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, patient care, medical laws and ethics, and administrative tasks. The goal is to equip students with the necessary skills to perform both clinical and administrative duties in various healthcare settings.

Online Medical Assistant Coursework

The coursework for an online Medical Assistant program is designed to provide a comprehensive education in both the clinical and administrative aspects of medical assisting. Here's a list of common topics:

  • Medical Terminology: Understanding the language used in healthcare settings.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Studying the human body and its systems.
  • Pharmacology: Basics of medications and their effects on the body.
  • Clinical Procedures: Techniques for assisting with exams, minor surgeries, and other medical procedures.
  • Patient Care: Skills for caring for patients, including taking vital signs and patient communication.
  • Medical Law and Ethics: Understanding the legal and ethical considerations in healthcare.
  • Medical Billing and Coding: Basics of coding medical procedures for billing and insurance purposes.
  • Administrative Practices: Skills for managing front-office tasks, like scheduling appointments and managing patient records.
  • First Aid and CPR: Essential emergency care procedures.

Online Medical Assistant Clinical Training

Clinical training in an online Medical Assistant program is crucial for providing students with hands-on experience in a healthcare setting. This component of the program is typically arranged locally for the student or through virtual simulations when in-person experiences are not feasible. Here's a list of common experiences:

  • Patient Interaction: Practicing communication skills and bedside manner.
  • Vital Signs Measurement: Learning to accurately measure and record blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respiration rates.
  • EKG Administration: Training on how to perform electrocardiograms.
  • Phlebotomy: Techniques for drawing blood safely and effectively.
  • Injection Techniques: Learning proper methods for administering injections.
  • Sterilization Techniques: Ensuring equipment and environments are sterile to prevent infection.
  • Assisting with Minor Surgeries: Supporting healthcare professionals during minor surgical procedures.
  • Laboratory Procedures: Handling and analyzing laboratory specimens.
  • Medical Record Keeping: Practicing the documentation and management of patient records.

Best Online 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. Keiser University

Keiser University offers an Associate of Science degree in Medical Assisting Science through an online platform designed for students seeking to enter the healthcare field. This program prepares students to perform a variety of clinical duties such as taking patient histories, measuring vital signs, assisting with examinations, giving injections, performing venipuncture, laboratory tests, and electrocardiograms (ECG). In addition to clinical skills, the program covers clerical and administrative tasks including scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and preparing insurance claims.

Program Highlights:

  • Degree: Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science
  • Credit Hours: 60 credit hours required for graduation
  • Core Courses: Include Introduction to Healthcare, Anatomy & Physiology with Terminology & Disease Process, Pharmacology, Medical Law & Ethics, Medical Office Procedures with Insurance, and Computerized Medical Office Management.
  • Clinical Courses: Clinical Lecture, Clinical Procedures, Laboratory Procedures, and an Externship in Medical Assisting.
  • Externship: A 5.0 credit hour externship in Medical Assisting provides hands-on experience in a real healthcare setting.

2. Jackson College

Jackson College offers a Medical Assistant program designed to train multi-skilled healthcare practitioners for work in various medical settings, including medical offices, clinics, and hospitals. The program focuses on both the clinical and business aspects of healthcare, preparing students to assist healthcare professionals like physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and optometrists in running their practices efficiently.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program can be completed in as little as 10 months of class time, making it an accelerated option for those looking to quickly enter the healthcare field.
  • Curriculum: Courses cover a wide range of skills, from taking and recording patient histories and vital signs to assisting with examinations, scheduling appointments, preparing blood for laboratory tests, and administering injections as directed by a physician.
  • Practicum Experience: Includes a practicum experience with a licensed healthcare practitioner, providing students with hands-on experience in a real-world setting.

3. Ashworth College

Ashworth College offers a Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate online, designed for individuals aiming to start a career in healthcare administration. This program focuses on the essential administrative functions within a medical office, including routine clinical duties, administrative processes, document management, and organizational support to medical professionals.

Program Highlights:

  • Flexibility: The program allows students to study at their own pace, making it ideal for those balancing other commitments.
  • Affordable Tuition: Ashworth College emphasizes affordable tuition and offers payment plan options, ensuring students can learn without financial strain.
  • Curriculum: Key courses include Medical and Body Systems Terminology, Introduction to Medical Assisting, and Administrative Medical Assisting.
  • Career Services: Students gain access to the Ashworth College Central Network, an online toolkit for building resumes, drafting cover letters, and more.

4. State Fair Community College

State Fair Community College (SFCC) offers a Professional Certificate in Medical Assisting, designed to prepare students for a career as a medical assistant. This program is suitable for individuals who possess skills such as excellent communication, active listening, care and compassion for patients, clerical and computer knowledge, attention to detail, and integrity. It equips students with the necessary skills to perform a wide range of tasks in a medical setting, including preparing patients and treatment rooms for clinical exams, assisting practitioners with exams, taking and recording vital signs and medical information, handling patient billing and bookkeeping tasks, and working with electronic medical records.

Program Highlights:

  • Flexibility: Classes are offered at SFCC-Clinton and online, providing flexibility for students. The program includes clinicals at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare sites and other ambulatory sites, offering hands-on experience.
  • Program Structure: The program starts in August and January, requiring an additional application. It offers a blend of online classes with one day a week of on-ground skills lab at Clinton, Boonville, Sedalia, or Lake of the Ozarks, ensuring students gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. University of Providence

The University of Providence offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program designed to be completed in 10 consecutive months. This program trains professionals to work in various clinical settings such as outpatient care, ambulatory care, medical offices, and clinics, handling both administrative and clinical tasks.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: 10 consecutive months, making it an accelerated option for those looking to quickly enter the medical assisting field.
  • Curriculum: Covers patient-centered care, safe and ethical behaviors within the Medical Assistant Scope of Practice, administrative responsibilities (like scheduling appointments and submitting insurance claims), and clinical responsibilities (such as preparing patients for medical examinations and performing basic laboratory tests).
  • Clinical Skills Lab Sessions: Requires attendance at in-person clinical skills lab sessions as part of the course requirements, providing hands-on experience.
  • Internship: Includes a 160-hour unpaid internship in a medical clinic, offering real-world experience under the supervision of a medical assistant professional.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Office Assistant through an online program designed to fast-track students into a career in healthcare administration. This program is tailored for individuals who possess administrative skills or experience and wish to contribute to the healthcare industry without becoming a doctor or nurse.

Program Highlights:

  • Curriculum: Focuses on medical-related tasks like diagnostic coding, medical billing and coding, and handling legal and ethical issues in healthcare, including HIPAA, privacy, professional liability, and risk management.
  • Christian Worldview: Offers training from a Christian perspective, with professors who have both advanced education and years of experience in the medical field.
  • Flexibility: 100% online format allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional commitments.
  • Optional Externship: Offers an optional 160-hour externship for work-based experience related to career objectives.

9. Herzing University

Herzing University offers a Medical Assisting program designed to provide students with both didactic and in-the-field learning experiences, enabling them to enter the workforce as entry-level medical assistants. This program prepares students for roles as either Clinical or Administrative Medical Assistants, equipping them with a comprehensive set of skills necessary for the medical assisting profession.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathology, ethics, professionalism, medical insurance, electronic medical records, medical clinical procedures, laboratory procedures, and patient privacy.
  • Program Outcomes: Graduates are expected to demonstrate clinical and laboratory competencies in medical assisting, perform administrative duties for a medical office, adhere to ethical and legal boundaries within the medical assisting scope of practice, and demonstrate professional behavior in a medical office setting.
  • Credit Hours: A minimum of 34.00 semester credit hours is required for graduation.
  • Entry Requirement: Students must meet the minimum required score on the entrance assessment to enroll in the Diploma Program in Medical Assisting.

10. Purdue University Global

Purdue Global offers a comprehensive range of health sciences programs designed to prepare students for various roles in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry. These programs are tailored for individuals at different stages of their healthcare careers, from those taking their first steps into the healthcare industry to professionals looking to advance or specialize in a particular area.

Program Highlights:

  • Wide Range of Programs: Offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and certificate programs in health sciences, including Health and Wellness, Health Care Administration, Health Education and Promotion, Health Informatics, Health Sciences, Medical Billing and Coding, Nutrition, and Public Health.
  • Real-World Knowledge and Clinical Training: Combines academic learning with hands-on clinical training, continually evaluated by experts in their fields.
  • 100% Online Classes: Provides the flexibility to create a study schedule that fits your lifestyle, making it easier to balance your studies with personal and professional commitments.

11. Daytona College

Daytona College offers an Associate of Science Degree in Medical Assisting through an online program designed to be completed in 70 weeks. This program is tailored for individuals seeking to earn a living by helping others in the healthcare field, providing a blend of essential administrative support and quality clinical care training.

Program Highlights:

  • Real-World Experience: Even as an online student, you'll gain hands-on experience through externships in actual medical facilities, ensuring you're prepared for real-world medical assisting duties.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Students learn a wide range of skills, including recording vital signs, patient intake and assessment, diagnostic tests, administering medication, specimen collection and processing, handling electronic health records, insurance and billing, patient scheduling, drawing blood, as well as developing critical thinking and leadership skills.
  • Flexibility: The program's online format is ideal for those with busy schedules, allowing for the flexibility to complete training without the need to be on campus every day.

Online Medical Assistant Prerequisites & Requirements

Enrolling in an online Medical Assistant program requires meeting certain prerequisites and fulfilling specific requirements, designed to ensure that students are prepared for the coursework and the responsibilities they will face in their future careers.

Online Medical Assistant Prerequisites

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

  • High School Diploma or GED: Most programs require applicants to have completed high school or have a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • Minimum Age Requirement: Many programs require students to be at least 18 years old by the time they complete the program.
  • Healthcare Experience: Some programs may prefer or require some form of healthcare experience, although this is not always mandatory.
  • Background Check: Due to the nature of the work, a clean criminal background check is often required to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Immunizations: Up-to-date immunizations may be required, especially for those programs that include an in-person clinical training component.
  • Basic Computer Skills: As the program is online, basic computer literacy and access to a reliable computer and internet connection are necessary.
  • English Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, proof of English proficiency may be required, given the importance of clear communication in healthcare settings.

Online Medical Assistant Requirements

Once enrolled, students must fulfill the following requirements to complete the program and become eligible for certification:

  • Completion of Coursework: Students must complete all required coursework, which includes both theoretical and practical components.
  • Clinical Training: Completion of a certain number of hours of clinical training, either virtually or in a healthcare setting, is required to gain practical experience.
  • Examinations: Passing program-specific exams, which may include both written and practical tests, is often required to demonstrate competency.
  • Certification Exam: Although not always a requirement of the program itself, graduating students are typically encouraged or required to sit for a certification exam, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, to enhance their employment prospects.
  • Technical Requirements: Maintaining access to the necessary technology, including a computer, internet connection, and sometimes specific software, is required to participate in online coursework and examinations.
  • Professional Behavior: Adherence to a code of professional behavior and ethics, mirroring what is expected in healthcare settings, is required throughout the program.

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 Online Medical Assistant Programs Worth It?

Determining whether online Medical Assistant programs are worth it depends on individual career goals, learning preferences, and life circumstances. These programs offer a flexible path to entering the healthcare field, which is known for its strong job growth and meaningful work. However, like any educational path, there are pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Online Medical Assistant Programs

  1. Flexibility: Online programs allow students to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities, making it easier to pursue education while working or caring for family.
  2. Accessibility: Students can enroll in programs regardless of their geographical location, as long as they have internet access. This is particularly beneficial for those living in rural areas or far from educational institutions.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Online programs often have lower tuition fees than traditional on-campus programs. Additionally, students save on commuting, parking, and sometimes even textbook costs.
  4. Variety of Learning Resources: Online learning platforms provide access to a wide range of digital learning materials, including lectures, videos, and interactive simulations, which can cater to different learning styles.
  5. Career Advancement: Completing a medical assistant program online can lead to certification and employment in the healthcare field, offering a clear path to career advancement and stability.

Cons of Online Medical Assistant Programs

  1. Lack of Hands-On Experience: While online programs may offer virtual simulations or arrange local clinical placements, some students may feel they miss out on the hands-on experience and direct supervision available in traditional programs.
  2. Self-Discipline Required: Online learning requires a high degree of self-motivation and discipline. Without the structure of a traditional classroom, some students may struggle to keep pace with their studies.
  3. Limited Interaction: The online format can limit direct interaction with instructors and peers, potentially affecting the learning experience and networking opportunities.
  4. Technology Dependence: Students must have reliable access to a computer and internet. Technical issues can hinder the learning process and cause delays in completing coursework.
  5. Perception Issues: Although the stigma around online education is diminishing, some employers may still prefer candidates with traditional, on-campus education, especially in fields that are highly hands-on like healthcare.

Importance of Picking an Accredited Online Medical Assistant Program

Choosing an accredited online 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: Can I complete my externship in a physician's office if I'm enrolled in an online Medical Assistant program?

Most online Medical Assistant programs offer the flexibility to complete your externship in a physician's office or other healthcare settings such as clinics or outpatient facilities. This hands-on clinical experience is crucial for applying the skills learned in online courses to real-world scenarios, under the supervision of experienced providers.

Q: Are there online Medical Assistant programs that allow for part-time study?

Many online Medical Assistant programs are designed to accommodate students who may be working full-time, offering self-paced courses that can be completed on a part-time basis. This flexibility helps students balance their studies with personal and professional commitments, making it easier to pursue a career path in medical assisting.

Q: How do I know if I'm eligible for financial aid for an online Medical Assistant program?

Eligibility for financial aid typically depends on the accreditation of the program and your financial situation. Prospective students should look for programs accredited by recognized bodies like the CAAHEP or ABHES. You'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid, including loans and grants. Some institutions also offer scholarships or payment plans specifically for online learners.

Q: What kind of career path can I expect after completing an online Medical Assistant program?

Graduates of online Medical Assistant programs can pursue a variety of career paths in healthcare settings, including medical offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and specialty practices. Roles may range from clinical tasks, such as taking patient histories and assisting with procedures, to administrative duties like managing health records and office procedures. With further education and experience, some medical assistants advance to become nurses, healthcare managers, or technologists in specialized fields.

Q: Is it possible to specialize in certain areas of medical assisting through online courses?

Some online Medical Assistant programs offer courses or tracks focused on specialties within the medical field, such as pediatrics, cardiology, or orthopedics. These specialized courses can provide deeper knowledge and skills relevant to specific types of providers or patient care settings. Specializing can enhance your employability and opportunities for advancement by demonstrating expertise in particular clinical areas or office procedures.

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