Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs
Currently, there are no set educational requirements or required degrees to become a medical assistant. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for medical assistants to be hired with no experience and receive on-the-job training. As the healthcare system increases in complexities, employers seek candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their positions. Medical assistant programs and state exams have been created to help prepare aspiring medical assistants for work in the healthcare system.
Medical assistant programs prepare aspiring medical assistants to pass state exams and meet other state requirements. These programs can be completed in two years or less at a technical or vocational school as well as junior and community colleges.
State exams are required to become a medical assistant.
The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Passing this exam guarantees to an employer that candidates have a current and thorough understanding of the healthcare and medical industry. The AAMA certification is quickly becoming the entry-level standard in the medical assisting field–not yet a mandate.
3 Types of Medical Assisting Degrees
Online Medical Assisting Certificate
- Focused program made up of core clinical courses, without many of the general education and liberal arts classes included in an associate degree program
- May not be eligible for transfer credit if you decide to further your education in the future
- Often the least expensive programs, due to lower number of credit hours
- Can be completed in as little as 9 months
Online Medical Assisting Diploma Programs
- Entry requirements may include H.S. diploma or equivalent
- Typically last 12-18 months (as little as 8-9 months)
- Nearly identical to certificate programs
- Self-paced study mixed with real-time elements
- Credits may not transfer
- Courses focus on clinical and administrative skills
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Assisting (AAS)
- Can be earned in two years or four semesters
- ~65 credits (50 core course credits, 15 general studies elective credits)
- Average of 30 more credit hours than certificate programs
- Includes more general, liberal arts, clinical, and administrative classes
- Credits easily transfer toward a bachelor of science degree, if further education is sought
- Eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination and/or Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination once degree is earned
- Offers top-level earnings and more lucrative positions
- Offers immediate employability once degree is earned
3 Specialties and Areas of Concentration
Medical assistants tend to seek specific training in order to better serve their employers. This training involves one of three categories:
Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA): This focus mainly deals with patient care, side-by-side with a physician.Clinical medical assistants assist with minor procedures and examinations, chart vital signs, explain treatments and procedures to patients, and document vital signs, among other things. In small offices , CMAs often help with maintaining and ordering supplies, answering phones, scheduling appointments, working on insurance claims, and more.A two-year degree or certificate course are required to become a formally trained CMA. Most online courses include real-world “practice” and study that prepare them for this field.
Administrative Medical Assisting: Administrative medical assistants, or medical secretaries, perform administrative tasks for hospitals and clinics. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, managing front desk operations, interviewing patients for case histories in advance of appointments, processing insurance payments, accounting and billing, maintaining supplies for and appearance of the office, and other functions. Administrative medical assistants often manage basic business operations for health care facilities. There are no formal educational requirements to become an administrative medical assistant, but most employers will mandate at least a high school diploma for employment. Certification can be attained through an institution that is accredited by one of the two medical assistant accreditation bodies, the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Specialized Medical Assisting: As physicians become more specialized, there is an increasing need for specialized medical assistants. Specialty certifications allow medical assistants to concentrate their medical training to a narrowly focused medical field. Specialized assistants become healthcare team members. Certifications are available trough the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT).
List of Accredited Online Medical Assisting Programs
$ 10,800 (total tuition)
5834 Monroe Street, Suite F-J
Sylvania, OH 43560
$ 31,525 (total tuition)
1505 Metro Dr Ste 1
Alexandria, LA 71301
$ 14,755 (total tuition)
964 South Highway Drive
Fenton, MO 63026
$14,755 (total tuition)
$ 17,000 (total tuition)
240 Northwest Mall
Houston, TX 77092
$ 13,503 (total tuition)
1001 E. 101st Terrace, Suite 325
Kansas City, MO 64131-3367