The Best Online Medical Assistant Certificate Programs

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You can enjoy a rewarding career in healthcare by earning a medical assistant certification online. This profession entails both clinical responsibilities to support patients’ well-being and administrative functions to ensure accurate record-keeping. Whether your duties include measuring people’s vital signs, administering their medications, or making certain they schedule their next appointment, take confidence knowing you are helping to improve quality of life.

Graduates of online medical assistant certification programs find employment in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and treatment centers. They can choose from an array of professional opportunities, largely due to the 29% occupational growth the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects for the field between 2016 and 2026. The BLS attributes much of this anticipated growth to the aging baby boomer population and a surge in the number of medical practices and clinics nationwide.

Moreover, doctors rely on medical assistants more than ever to oversee the administrative and clerical functions of their practice so they can focus on delivering quality care. Medical assistants can make a difference in the lives of others. These professionals earned a median annual income of $33,610 in 2018.

Medical Assistant Certificate Program Ranking Guidelines:

We selected the following online medical assistant programs based on their quality and online class offerings, as well as faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation.

The Best Online Medical Assistant Certificate Programs

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4

North CarolinaA &T State University 

Greensboro, NC

About this school

Set on a 200 campus, A&T opened in 1891 as a land-grant university. The school boasts a rich cultural history, serving at the forefront of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and now ranking among the nation’s top Carnegie-classified research institutions. N.C. A&T offers 54 undergraduate programs across eight schools and nearly 50 master’s and doctoral degrees through the Graduate College.

N.C. A&T offers a certified clinical medical assistant program in conjunction with Health Ed Today. The program requires completion of 140 credit hours in skills that prepare patients for exams, understanding HIPAA and patient confidentiality, and taking vital signs. Students can also learn to assist in the administration of medications, performing EKGs, and obtaining lab specimens.

Applicants must complete or be in pursuit of a high school diploma or GED for admission consideration for the medical assistant certification online program. The program suits prospective nurses seeking certification as an LPN or those planning to pursue formal certified medical assistant credentials. Graduates can qualify to sit for the certified clinical medical assistant or National Healthcareer Association exams.

Students complete courses online through the Blackboard platform. N.C. A&T offers distance learners a wealth of resources, including 24/7 mentoring opportunities, career advising, and tech support. Prospective students may apply in the spring or summer semesters.

Score
65.65
Graduation Rate
43%
5

University of Alaska Southeast 

Juneau, AK

About this school

Established in 1987, UAS maintains a scenic campus in Juneau, as one of four campuses in the University of Alaska system. The school serves more than 4,800 students in over 75 degrees and certificate programs. Additionally, UAS offers dozens of programs available on campus and online.

UAS enables students to take 100% online classes for medical assistant certification. The medical assistant certificate encompasses clinical and administrative skills, preparing students for allied healthcare practice in many settings. Each student must complete general and program requirements, including a practicum in medical assisting, to earn the certificate. Courses explore topics such as medical records management, insurance processing, taking vital signs, and specimen collection.

Each applicant must undergo placement testing to determine potential prerequisites needed in math and English before beginning the program. A prospective medical assistant certificate student must also undergo a health exam and criminal background check as part of the application process. Additionally, students must produce current TB tests, immunizations, and CPR/first aid certification.

Students enrolled in the online medical assistant certificate at UAS can complete courses through the Blackboard learning management system. The university offers resources for distance learners, including a virtual orientation, career services, veterans’ services, and tech support. Though each student can complete most of the coursework online, the program requires an in-person capstone practicum component.

Score
65.41
Graduation Rate
24%
6

Concordia University-Wisconsin 

Mequon, WI

About this school

Occupying campuses on both sides of Lake Michigan, CUW complements the university’s Ann Arbor, Michigan location. In total, the university maintains nine regional education centers and offers dozens of degrees and certificates across five primary areas of study. CUW enrolls more than 9,000 students in academic programs in the Lutheran tradition.

CUW delivers its medical assistant certificate in a hybrid format, combining face-to-face and online coursework. The program requires completion of 42 credits across three primary training areas: lab procedures, administrative procedures, and clinical procedures. All courses follow a liberal arts curriculum in the Christian tradition. The medical assistant certification online program culminates in a practicum experience.

Students complete most coursework online, with a six-credit course requirement on campus once a week. The program offers students a choice of full- or part-time enrollment and features both daytime and evening track options. Full-time students can complete the medical assistant certificate in 15 months.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma or GED, earn a score of at least 18 on the Wonderlic test, and pass a physical exam. Additionally, students must sit for an interview with admissions personnel or an academic advisor. Incoming students receive assignments for their own online student success advisors, and CUW offers a variety of online learning styles, including self-paced and cohort-led courses.

Score
64.82
Graduation Rate
53%
7

Renton Technical College 

Renton, WA

About this school

RTC’s online medical assistant certification emphasizes a career-oriented program with an accelerated completion time. The certificate of completion in medical assistant comprises 71 credits over four quarters. Each student must complete a practicum and practicum seminar to conclude the certificate. Coursework explores medical office management and billing, as well as skills such as performing an EKG, administering medication, and drawing blood for lab tests.

Graduates can qualify to sit for one of four nationally recognized credentialing exams for professional medical assistants. The program offers day and evening course delivery options in a hybrid learning format. Each applicant must possess or be in the process of earning a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, prospective students must pass a criminal background check, meet health and vaccination requirements, and maintain health insurance for admission consideration.

Students can complete courses in the Canvas learning management system. The program offers entry points in both the fall and spring semesters. New students can complete a Canvas orientation online and engage with career services, the RTC library and bookstore, and veteran advisors.

Score
63.34
Graduation Rate
63%
8

University of Providence 

Great Falls, MT

About this school

UP maintains a 44-acre campus between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. The university aligns itself with the Roman Catholic Church and enrolls nearly 1,000 students to offers more than 60 liberal arts programs. UP features 10 online programs in science, liberal arts, and healthcare, including an online medical assistant certification test.

The medical assistant certificate at UP emphasizes a combination of administrative and clinical career skills. Each student must complete a total of 15 credit hours to earn the certificate. The curriculum encompasses online coursework and occasional face-to-face lab requirements at campus locations in Renton, Washington; Wilsonville, Oregon; or Great Falls, Montana. Additionally, students must attend a one-day immersion experience on campus before starting their coursework.

Enrollees may complete one, eight-week course at a time to earn the certificate in 10 months. Distance learners can complete courses sequentially through a cohort learning format. UP forms new cohorts to begin the certificate program in January and August of each year. Each applicant must possess a high school diploma or GED and submit a personal essay for admission consideration.

Distance students can complete courses through the Moodle platform. The program offers a variety of resources to online learners, such as a student success center, disability services, plus an online library and bookstore. UP charges a set per-credit tuition rate for the online medical assistant certificate, regardless of a student’s state of residence.

Score
62.01
Graduation Rate
45%
9

Southwestern Community College 

Sylva, NC

About this school

Established in 1964, SCC serves a tri-county area surrounding its main campus in Sylva, North Carolina. The college maintains additional Macon and Swain locations, along with a public safety training center. SCC offers dozens of associate degrees and certificates in the arts and sciences, career technologies, and health sciences disciplines, including more than 30 online programs.

The medical assistant certificate at SCC requires a student to complete a minimum of 13 credits. The curriculum provides a broad introduction to the medical assistant profession, preparing graduates for administrative medical office management positions. Coursework explores topics such as medical law and ethics, medical terminology, and administrative office procedures.

The program trains students to process insurance claims, manage medical records, and maintain phone and email communications; however, graduates do not qualify to sit for the national medical assistant certification examination. Each applicant must submit a high school diploma or GED and SAT or ACT scores with their application.

SCC plans to transition its online courses from Blackboard to Moodle in 2019. Upon enrolling at SCC, students can receive a complimentary version of the Microsoft Office Suite. The university maintains a mobile app featuring select resources such as student accounts and limited course access. SCC offers comprehensive tech support through a ticketed help desk system. The program encourages students to complete the online Blackboard orientation upon course registration.

Score
61.85
Graduation Rate
33%
10

Spokane Community College 

Spokane, WA

About this school

The online medical assistant certification at SCC combines training in clinical and administrative medical assistant tasks, such as performing diagnostics, assistant with exams, preparing medical records, and finance management. Each student must complete a clinical internship in their final quarter to earn the certificate. The college enables students to apply completed certificate credits toward applied science associate degrees in medical assisting.

The program does not accept advanced placement or transfer credits, and prospective students must earn all credits toward their medical assistant certifications at SCC. Applicants must satisfy prerequisites in subjects like math, English, and computer skills to qualify for admission into the certificate program. Students may enroll in the fall, winter, spring, or summer terms.

Each student must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses before proceeding to the next quarter-semester. The certificate requires enrollees to complete a total of 67 credit hours. Distance students can complete courses through Canvas, and coursework may require synchronous or asynchronous learning styles. SCC offers 24/7 tech support for Canvas by phone and through an online chat tool.

Score
58.39
Graduation Rate
26%
11

Dakota County Technical College 

Rosemount, MN

About this school

Founded in 1970, DCTC occupies its main campus in Rosemount, Minnesota, and an IT training facility in Eagan. The college enrolls more than 2,250 students to feature 55 associate degrees and more than 90 certificates and diploma programs, including an online medical assistant diploma. DCTC offers a variety of campus, online, and full- and part-time learning options.

The medical assistant certification online encompasses 42 credits emphasizing the clinical duties required of medical assistants in the field. Students can develop skills to perform diagnostic tests, administer medications, and assist with exams and minor surgeries. Course topics include medical terminology, pharmacology, and radiologic imagery. Students conclude the certificate with a practicum experience and capstone project.

Students may complete most coursework online, save for the practicum requirement. DCTC allows students to take courses on campus, through a hybrid format, or according to full- or part-time schedules. Sample course sequence plans for the medical assistant diploma span two semesters and a summer session.

Students can complete courses online through the D2L Brightspace platform. Resources for distance students include advising and tutoring services, library and bookstore access, and links to financial aid and registration through the student portal. Distance students can request tech support for D2L or other virtual learning systems through the DCTC ticketing system.

Score
57.41
Graduation Rate
36%
12

San Francisco State University 

San Francisco, CA

About this school

SFSU, one of 23 schools in the California State University system, opened in 1899 as a two-year teacher-training facility. Today, the university occupies three campuses in downtown San Francisco, Marin County, and the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. SFSU offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degrees, plus more than 50 certificates and credentialing programs.

The College of Extended Learning at SFSU offers a clinical medical assistant program online. The curriculum includes a 160-hour clinical internship requirement, paired with 140 credit hours in coursework such as performing echocardiograms, administering medications, and collecting lab specimens. Graduates can qualify to sit for the national certified clinical medical assistant exam.

A student may enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Each applicant must possess a high school diploma or GED for admission consideration. Additionally, advisors recommend that non-native-English-speaking applicants obtain advanced fluency in English before starting the program. SFSU charges a set tuition rate for the certificate course, regardless of a student’s state of residence.

Distance students can complete courses through the iLearn platform. SFSU maintains access to the latest distance learning technologies, including i-learn streaming videos and tutorials, CourseStream lectures, and e-library archives online. Students can seek out tech support at any time by phone, chat, email, or SMS.

Score
57.31
Graduation Rate
54%
13

St Charles Community College 

Cottleville, MO

About this school

Established in 1986, SCC prepares graduates for the workforce throughout the United States. SCC offers more than 45 career-training programs in more than 24 academic areas, with an emphasis in healthcare and medical programs. The college also features over 100 courses and programs available online.

SCC offers an online certificate of achievement in medical assisting. The 34-credit online medical assistant certification encompasses both clinical and administrative career skills. Coursework trains students to perform electrocardiograms, prepare patient charts, draw blood, and file insurance claims in a medical office. Graduates can qualify for entry-level medical assistant positions.

Students must complete a combination of general education and core course requirements. The certificate culminates in a clinical internship and a professional capstone experience. Program prerequisites include basic life support certification and English composition. The suggested course sequence encompasses more than one, eight-week course at a time, spanning two semesters.

Online students can complete courses through the Canvas learning management system. SCC accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. Each applicant must submit a high school diploma or GED, take an academic skills assessment/placement test through SCC, and complete a college success seminar orientation. While SCC charges different rates for in- or out-of-state districts, the college offers financial aid, such as tuition discounts and payment plan options.

Score
57.15
Graduation Rate
19%
14

Lenoir Community College 

Kinston, NC

About this school

Among the oldest members of the North Carolina Community College system, LCC serves a three-county area surrounding its campus in Kinston, North Carolina. The college recently achieved its highest enrollment on record, with more than 3,793 for-credit students. LCC offers nearly 50 associate degrees, more than 35 diplomas, and over 100 certificates and professional programs.

The medical assistant certification online at LCC requires a student to complete 17 credits. The pathway program suits high school students pursuing LCC’s Career and College Promise Initiative. Coursework emphasizes career skills such as medical terminology, basic anatomy and physiology, introduction to computers, and medical law and ethics. Students can complete the program entirely online, with no campus visits required.

Graduates of the pathway medical assistant certificate can qualify to sit for the certification exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants. Students who complete the certificate may also go on to pursue the associate of applied science degree in medical assistant at LCC. A high school applicant in their junior or senior year may apply to the certificate program, provided they possess at least a 3.0 GPA or a recommendation from their principal with all prerequisites met.

Students can complete certificate coursework through the Moodle learning management system. LCC offers resources for distance students, including tutoring and counseling services, online library access, and comprehensive tech support. Learners may register for and start programs online at LCC in the fall or spring semesters.

Score
56.44
Graduation Rate
18%
15

Neosho County Community College 

Chanute, KS

About this school

Founded in 1936, NCCC occupies two residential campuses in Chanute and Ottawa, Kansas, plus an online portal for distance learning programs. The college enrolls more than 2,000 students in any given semester, with more than 400 registered online. NCCC offers dozens of online academic and professional training programs in more than 12 areas of study.

The medical assistant certificate comprises 41 total credit hours that meet the requirements for the Kansas Board of Regents state alignment. Its curriculum combines general education and core program courses in administrative and clinical skills. Coursework emphasizes office management training in computer concepts, medical terminology, medical office reimbursement, and emergency preparedness. Additionally, students complete coursework clinical training that includes eligibility to sit for the certified nurse aide and certified medication aide state examinations.

In addition to online classes for medical assistant certification, students complete skills practice and check-offs in the evening lab setting which culminates in a 160-hour medical assistant externship. Graduates qualify to sit for the national registered medical assistant (RMA) exam. Students may choose from a list of recommended electives, such as introduction to health information technology for more administrative skills, or courses such as phlebotomy for more medical skills. Graduates of the certificate program may apply credits toward related associate degrees.

Students can log in to the myNeosho portal to access their accounts and distance coursework through the learning management system (LMS). NCCC offers resources for distance students, including library and bookstore access, financial aid, and LMS tech support. The recommended course sequence begins in the summer and comprises a total of four semesters.

Score
54.18
Graduation Rate
30%
16

Northcentral Technical College 

Wausau, WI

About this school

Established in 1912 as an industrial training school, NTC expanded its program offerings over the years but remained at its main campus location in Wausau, Wisconsin. Today, the college encompasses five more campus locations in Antigo, Phillips, Medford, Wittenburg, and Spencer, with additional learning centers located throughout the state. NTC offers nearly 200 technical diplomas, associate degrees, and certificate programs on campus and online.

The 32-credit medical assistant technical diploma provides students with the administrative and clinical skills needed for entry-level medical assistant positions. While students complete most courses online, some may require campus attendance. Course topics include clinical procedures, insurance and finance, and digital literacy for healthcare. The curriculum spans two terms of study, culminating in a medical assistant practicum course.

Each applicant must submit either high school transcripts with a minimum 2.5 GPA or college transcripts for at least 12 credits earned at only one college with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Additionally, candidates must score 16 or above on the ACT and undergo ACCUPLACER placement testing. Prospective medical assisting students must maintain current CPR certification and undergo criminal background checks for admission consideration.

Distance learners can complete courses through the Canvas platform. Students can access their accounts to view registration, grades, and financial aid information through the MyNTC portal. Resources for online learners include library and bookstore access, a help desk for technical support, and advising/counseling options.

Score
53.89
Graduation Rate
33%
17

Cerro Coso Community College 

Ridgecrest, CA

About this school

The administrative medical assisting certificate emphasizes career training for aspiring medical office managers and assistants. Students may complete all coursework online, save for the medical assistant administrative internship required to conclude the program. The curriculum explores medical insurance and billing, medical coding, and electronic health records management. Each student must complete 20.5 units over two semesters to earn a certificate, and graduates can qualify to sit for the state exam for medical assistants.

Each applicant to the medical assistant certification online program at Cerro Coso should be at least 18 years old, with a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, every candidate must meet with an advisor to determine their academic placement in English and math coursework. Students must attend an orientation session and familiarize themselves with the online system before starting their certificate programs.

Students may apply to online programs on a rolling basis throughout the year. Courses Typically, last for 10 weeks, though some certificate programs require shorter-term courses. Cerro Coso offers courses online during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Distance learners can complete courses through the Canvas learning management system, aided by resources like tech support, tutoring options, and math and writing labs.

Score
47.26
Graduation Rate
18%
18

Jackson College 

Jackson, MI

About this school

Opened in 1928 as Jackson Junior College, JC maintains a rural 500-acre central campus. The school also operates several satellite locations throughout its tri-county service area plus an online campus, the latter enrolling about 20% of JC students. The college offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees and certificates across six major academic departments.

The medical assistant certificate at JC encompasses an interdisciplinary curriculum in clinical and administrative skills. The program combines general education and core requirements such as electronic health records, physical exams and diagnostic testing, surgical procedures and lab preparation, and medical billing and coding. The online medical assistant certification culminates in a clinical practicum and capstone course.

Each applicant must complete 50 credits and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to complete the certificate, and they must earn at least 15 of the required credits at JC. The core program coursework, in subjects like foundations of clinical practice and specialty exams and treatments, requires a minimum 2.5 GPA. Graduates can qualify to sit for the national certified medical assistant exam.

Students may apply to the medical assistant certificate program during any semester. Enrollees complete courses online through the Moodle platform and access registration assistance, financial aid services, and tech support through the JetNet portal. As a member of the Michigan Colleges Online consortium, JC also offers its online students’ resources such as academic advising, library databases, test proctoring, and tutoring options.

Score
46.85
Graduation Rate
10%
19

Wake Technical Community College 

Raleigh, NC

About this school

As the largest community college in North Carolina, Wake Tech encompasses six campuses and four additional learning sites, in addition to offering programs online. The school serves an enrollment of more than 74,000 students. Prospective distance learners at Wake Tech may choose from dozens of online courses and programs in many areas of study.

The medical assisting diploma program at Wake Tech follows a hybrid format, combining online course delivery with on-the-ground requirements at the Perry Health Sciences campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The one-year online medical assistant certification requires each student to complete 46 semester credit hours. Enrollees can explore administrative and clinical skills, including PC literacy, medical terminology, and exam room procedures, culminating in a clinical practicum.

Each applicant must provide academic transcripts and complete the North Carolina residency determination interview to help determine whether they meet residency and academic placement requirements. Wake Tech favors a candidate who applies early and completes the maximum general education prerequisites with a grade of “C” or above in each course. Prospective students must also take a typing test and meet minimum score requirements to qualify for unconditional admission to Wake Tech.

Students can complete courses through the Blackboard and Moodle learning management systems. Enrollees can enjoy a free e-learning introduction demo online. Wake Tech also offers a comprehensive Blackboard orientation and tech support options for distance learners. Students can also explore online support resources, including academic advising, financial aid services, and tutoring options through the individualized learning center and the student portal.

Score
46.00
Graduation Rate
16%
20

Dakota College at Bottineau 

Bottineau, ND

About this school

Founded in 1906 as the North Dakota School of Forestry, DCB opened just 17 years after the state itself achieved ratification. Today, the school enrolls nearly 1,000 students and offers two types of programs: career and technical certificates, and transfer degrees. Students may decide whether to complete any DCB program on campus or online.

The medical assistant certificate at DCB requires full-time study over one fall and one spring semester. Students can explore administrative course topics specific to this field, including procedure and diagnosis coding, medical transcription, and medical law and ethics. Earning the medical office assistant certification online also provides students with a strong foundation in clinical skills, with courses such as lab and diagnostic procedures and first aid/CPR. The certificate culminates with a clinical cooperative education experience.

A graduate can qualify to take the nationally certified medical assistant exam and apply their credits toward an associate of applied science in medical assisting by completing nine additional courses. Each student must maintain a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA and earn at least a “C” grade in each course leading to the culminating coop requirement.

Students can complete courses through the Blackboard platform. DCB maintains small class sizes to guarantee personalized attention from instructors to distance learners. While DCB charges different tuition rates based on a student’s state of residence, the school caters to a variety of districts, with discounts for students residing in North Dakota and Canadian provinces, Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota.

Score
45.44
Graduation Rate
20%
👏

End of list, bravo!

The Advantages of a Medical Assistant Education

Medical assistant certification online schools prepare students to enter a myriad of positions in the field of medical assisting. You may maintain patients’ confidential files, or draw blood, remove stitches, or capture x-ray images. Regardless of the specific job you enter, your role requires discretion and a commitment to protecting others’ personal information.

Earning your medical office assistant certification online affords the opportunity for a rewarding occupation, but pursuing an associate degree allows for professional advancement in the field, qualifying you for roles with greater responsibilities.

An associate degree in medical assisting requires more coursework than just the certification, building on your existing knowledge and skills. This prepares you for higher-level, better-paying positions. For example, some associate degree graduates may aid surgeons during operations, while others work in specialty areas like ophthalmic medical assisting. In other instances, these professionals may assist dentists and oral surgeons by performing dental cleanings, sterilizing dental instruments, and administering fluoride and coronal applications.

Degree Level Average Salary
Associate Degree in Medical Assistant $38,000
Certificate in Medical Assistant $31,282

Source: PayScale

Medical Assistant Certificate Salary Information

Completing a medical assistant certification online strengthens your administrative and clinical skills, equipping you for all aspects of the profession. Regardless of the position you ultimately choose, you must demonstrate attention to detail, strong communication skills, and the ability to multitask. Moreover, because medical visits tend to create anxiety for patients, medical assistants should keep an even-tempered, calm demeanor at all times.

Certified Medical Assistant
This professional often works in doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and medical facilities. They provide patient care by assisting nurses, physicians, and other staff. Job responsibilities include escorting patients to exam rooms, preparing patients for physicals and medical procedures, and performing clerical duties.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $32,000
  • Mid-Career: $34,000
  • Experienced: $38,000
  • Late Career: $40,000
Ophthalmic Technician
An expert in this role must possess in-depth knowledge of ophthalmic practices, including the appropriate care and use of specialty instruments. Responsibilities include recording patient history and conducting tests like refractions, pupil exams, topography, and amsler grids. These technicians should know about eye pathologies and eye anatomy.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $34,000
  • Mid-Career: $37,000
  • Experienced: $43,000
  • Late Career: $46,000
Medical Secretary
This role requires oversight of administrative work in a clinical environment. It entails answering telephone calls, scheduling patient appointments, filing medical claims with insurance companies on a patients’ behalf, and organizing medical files. A medical secretary should possess a strong understanding of medical terminology and proficiency in medical coding.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $31,000
  • Mid-Career: $34,000
  • Experienced: $37,000
  • Late Career: $39,000
Medical Office Manager
These professionals coordinate the administrative functions of a single medical office or multiple offices within the same practice or company. They oversee daily functions to streamline processes, including managing employee schedules and handling accounts receivable and payable. They should understand medical protocols, since they often need to ensure adherence to health insurance requirements.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $37,000
  • Mid-Career: $40,000
  • Experienced: $44,000
  • Late Career: $47,000
Medical Coder
Duties for this profession include transferring physicians’ treatment and diagnostic terms into a coded format for record-keeping purposes. This facilitates filing insurance claims and processing billing. As part of these responsibilities, these professionals may need to review patient records to understand their diagnoses and treatment plans.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $38,000
  • Mid-Career: $42,000
  • Experienced: $49,000
  • Late Career: $51,000

Source: PayScale

Choosing an Online Medical Assistant Program

Explore online medical assistant certification programs carefully to determine which one best suits you. Closely examine faculty credentials, class offerings, and the types of student services available to support your studies and transition to the workforce. Think about the practicalities of your budget, as well, so you can stay within those limits when it comes to tuition, fees, and other expenses.

In-state schools may prove more affordable, for example, because state residents pay less than for private and out-of-state public schools. You can find the ideal program that meets your needs, so take your time researching schools until you identify it.

Program Cost
Save yourself some education expenses by ensuring your online classes for medical assistant certification do not exceed your budget. Calculate tuition, fees, books, and distance learning costs. Moreover, explore scholarships and federal financial aid options.
Transfer Policies
Earning a medical assistant certification online should prepare you to transition into an associate degree program. Look for programs that fulfill some degree requirements by awarding transfer credits. Look into prospective schools’ transfer agreements, as well.
School Size and Type
Public schools usually feature larger class sizes than private schools, so decide if this makes a difference for you. Even in online classes, you must participate in virtual course discussions and group projects. Consider the potential effects of class size on these kinds of experiences.
Program Length
Part-time enrollment offers benefits and disadvantages. For example, as a part-time student, you can continue working and earning income to pay for school; however, you complete fewer credits each term and may take longer to obtain your medical assistant certification.
On-Campus Requirements
Keep in mind that some online programs still require students to spend time on-campus, either for specific courses or a residency over several days, including workshops and projects. If your chosen program mandates campus visits, consider what that would mean for your personal and professional commitments and budget.

Accreditation for Online Medical Assistant Programs

Select an accredited institution when determining where to earn your medical office assistant certification online. Most universities only recognize transfer credits from accredited institutions, because accreditation verifies the academic rigor of your prior studies. Furthermore, employers respect graduates of accredited online medical assistant certification programs because they possess the knowledge and skills to drive organizational success.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation assess schools to determine which meet their regional accreditation standards.

Regionally accredited schools earn their status from one of six agencies, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Other colleges and employers respect regional accreditation because it primarily recognizes academically oriented schools, while national accreditation generally recognizes schools offering vocational studies. Attending a regionally accredited school can prove advantageous for this reason.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs recognizes medical assisting programs across the U.S. to ensure they meet its guidelines and standards. It also retains a repository of accredited medical assisting programs nationwide. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools provides accreditation to similar programs across the country.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Certificate in Medical Assistant?

Online classes for medical assistant certification take 12-18 months to complete, but program length depends on several factors. If you decide to enroll part-time, for example, you may take longer to graduate since you will probably complete fewer credits each term. Furthermore, some certificate programs may require campus visits, which could affect program length.

You might need to adjust your schedule for mandated face-to-face experiences, which could extend the time it takes to complete your certification. Similarly, you could need more time to complete a practicum or clinical experience, if required.

You can finish your medical assistant certification online more quickly if you take on a heavier course load. Taking more courses each term may raise tuition expenses, but if you ultimately spend less time in school, you may pay less in overall tuition.

Courses in an Online Certificate in Medical Assistant Program

Anatomy and Physiology
This course explores the human body through an emphasis on the development of anatomical structures and physiological processes. Learners cover topics like sensory and nervous systems, tissue classification, cell structure, and the skeletal system. In addition, the class includes laboratory activities on urinary, reproductive, and digestive systems.
Medical Terminology
This course builds an understanding of medical terms by helping students learn the origins of this vocabulary, including suffixes, prefixes, and roots of words. In addition, students examine abbreviations and symbols, human anatomy vocabulary, and word-building. As a result, they can better support medical professionals and communicate with them in a workplace setting.
Human Diseases
In this class, students explore the fundamentals of common diseases and disorders of bodily systems. They look at the kinds of pathologies affecting each system to recognize their signs and symptoms, develop management and treatment strategies, and design diagnostic protocols. They also consider what steps to take to prevent certain kinds of diseases.
Pharmacology
Learners delve into medication therapy, focusing on safety, actions and adverse reactions, side effects, and food and other medication interactions. The course also teaches the calculations necessary to administer medicines and explores the sources and forms of medications and medication classifications.
Medical Assistant Skills
This course builds the competencies necessary to assist doctors in their practice. Students learn to sterilize equipment and prepare sterile instrument trays. They also study infection control, electrocardiography, and gender-specific examinations. Coursework in advanced studies include radiology, nutrition, and collecting and analyzing patient specimens.

Medical Assistant Membership Associations

Membership with a professional organization builds your network of colleagues and exposes you to continuing education opportunities. You can deepen your knowledge of emerging trends and best practices through publications, conferences, and trainings, many of which are made available to association members. You can also learn about career opportunities through updated job boards.

American Association of Medical Assistants
This organization provides certification, education, and credentials acknowledgement to practitioners, while also promoting patient well-being. Members enjoy discounted certification exam fees, access to legal counsel should they require it, and a subscription to CMA Today magazine. They can also enroll in online courses for a reduced fee and participate in local and state chapter activities.
American Registry of Medical Assistants
With members in each state, this organization represents those in the allied health professions, including military medics and corpsmen. It advances medical assistants’ professionalism and offers certification and registration for professionals in the field. Either a director or representative of an accredited, affiliated school must recommend professionals for membership.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
As the only national organization focusing exclusively on the revenue cycle, this association provides professional development in topics like reimbursement, data management, medical records, and admitting and registering. Founded in 1968, it offers a path to certification, plus publications and conferences.
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
Executive and administrative assistants who support healthcare leaders make up this organization’s membership. The association advocates for recognition of administrative professionals and the support they offer to the medical field. Members can attend educational events, webinars and classes, and conferences for ongoing professional development.
American Medical Technologists
This membership society and certification agency supports allied health professionals, such as medical and dental assistants, technicians, and laboratory consultants. Members participate at the state and national levels by joining committees and boards, attending meetings, and engaging in continuing education opportunities. They also enjoy access to publications from the organization.

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