Top Online Medical Assistant Programs and Schools

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Although hiring requirements vary state by state and facility by facility, students pursuing a career as a medical assistant can increase their chances of being hired, as well as their starting salary, through post-secondary education. Online study offers students a flexible and affordable means to achieve the degrees and certifications to which employers in the medical field are most attracted. The following page helps potential students better understand their options when looking for a program to pursue.

Best Online Medical Assisting Programs 2018-2019

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Though licensure requirements vary by state, those pursuing a degree in medical assisting can take advantage of the flexibility of an online degree. Students can choose from a number of options and specialties with an online program, and expand their school options beyond their own state lines. But doing your research is key in finding a top program that meets your state’s licensure requirements. We’re helping with some of the research and the tough decisions that will guide you to the right program for you.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah$18,02179%-100%1Yes Yes Yes School website
2 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama$8,04077%58%59%1Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, Idaho$3,92033%96%53%1No Yes Yes School website
4 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, Minnesota$10,18085%68%48%1Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Florida International University Miami, Florida$4,72144%50%60%1No Yes Yes School website
6 Weber State University Ogden, Utah$4,61158%-50%2Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus, Ohio$9,16880%54%85%1No Yes Yes School website
8 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin$6,69815%81%62%1Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Winona State University Winona, Minnesota$7,10347%60%59%1Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32%1Yes No Yes School website
11 Illinois State University Normal, Illinois$9,82749%89%73%1No Yes Yes School website
12 Park University Parkville, Missouri$11,73049%85%27%1Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan$15,93693%78%41%3Yes Yes Yes School website
14 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, Ohio$9,32258%76%72%1Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Columbia College Columbia, Missouri$7,88727%-40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan$11,14469%78%51%1Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota$6,98461%83%43%1Yes Yes Yes School website
18 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin$6,29828%73%53%1Yes No Yes School website
19 Cleary University Howell, Michigan$17,50094%47%39%1Yes Yes Yes School website
20 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, Indiana$7,10445%92%41%1Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Northwood University Midland, Michigan$23,86093%67%57%1Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, Colorado$22,36096%-41%1Yes Yes Yes School website
23 University of Mississippi University, Mississippi$7,64465%78%64%1No Yes Yes School website
24 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida$20,760100%70%43%1Yes Yes Yes School website
25 St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn, New York$24,50095%67%69%1Yes No Yes School website
26 New England College Henniker, New Hampshire$23,16277%99%36%1Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Louisiana State University at Alexandria Alexandria, Louisiana$4,98475%33%28%1Yes Yes Yes School website
28 National University La Jolla, California$13,0164%-50%1Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota$21,25097%57%49%2Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Belhaven University Jackson, Mississippi$22,726100%43%51%1Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls, Oregon$8,11060%73%50%1Yes Yes Yes School website
32 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina$4,36542%70%61%1No Yes Yes School website
33 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire$7,2006%-21%2Yes Yes Yes School website
34 State University of New York at Canton Canton, New York$6,47085%83%33%1Yes Yes Yes School website
35 University of Wisconsin-Parkside Kenosha, Wisconsin$6,2988%62%35%1Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Nebraska Methodist College Omaha, Nebraska$13,63275%35%49%2No No Yes School website
37 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana$6,40175%63%57%1No Yes Yes School website
38 Clarkson College Omaha, Nebraska$11,97658%52%17%1Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, Colorado$5,69318%64%31%1Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Norfolk State University Norfolk, Virginia$5,31840%85%37%1Yes Yes Yes School website
41 SUNY Polytechnic Institute Utica, New York$6,47090%64%45%1No No Yes School website
42 Montana State University-Billings Billings, Montana$4,39753%-28%1Yes Yes Yes School website
43 National Louis University Chicago, Illinois$12,4565%76%25%1Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Warner Pacific College Portland, Oregon$22,05098%53%45%1Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Southwest Baptist University Bolivar, Missouri$21,60082%90%48%1No Yes Yes School website
46 Tiffin University Tiffin, Ohio$22,80091%76%44%2Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma$15,91244%-38%1Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, Ohio$11,88021%58%47%1No No Yes School website
49 South Texas College McAllen, Texas$2,3302%--1No Yes Yes School website
50 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, Louisiana$5,40744%51%54%1No Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, Kansas$2,68866%33%7Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Barton Community College Great Bend, Kansas$2,30469%29%8Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota$4,8247%34%12Yes Yes Yes School website
4 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri$3,60020%22%6Yes Yes Yes School website
5 North Central Missouri College Trenton, Missouri$3,27030%37%7Yes No Yes School website
6 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska$2,62531%13%3Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia$2,136-23%5Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Central Wyoming College Riverton, Wyoming$2,13663%26%3Yes No Yes School website
9 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas$1,82444%31%1Yes No Yes School website
10 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, Mississippi$2,40062%41%1Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina$1,82416%10%4Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Arkansas Northeastern College Blytheville, Arkansas$2,15642%28%1Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio$3,16944%16%4Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, Iowa$3,96031%35%4Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Central Community College Grand Island, Nebraska$2,52034%32%3Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, Minnesota$4,76833%64%6Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota$4,8745%22%7Yes No Yes School website
18 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi$2,80042%28%2Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas$2,4603%13%2Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Eastern Gateway Community College Steubenville, Ohio$3,51022%19%2Yes No Yes School website
21 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, North Dakota$3,46941%28%4Yes No Yes School website
22 Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee, Washington$3,39325%30%1Yes No Yes School website
23 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota$4,969-26%6Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, Oregon$4,09244%29%5Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, Mississippi$2,80021%22%1Yes Yes Yes School website
26 McLennan Community College Waco, Texas$2,97625%22%1Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls, Montana$2,4965%15%7Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, North Carolina$1,82418%72%2Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming$2,13642%22%3Yes No Yes School website
30 North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville, Georgia$2,136-26%1Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Hinds Community College Raymond, Mississippi$2,64025%18%2Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia$2,136-45%2Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas$2,94019%9%5Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, Washington$3,32830%32%2Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Cedar Valley College Lancaster, Texas$3,3306%9%2Yes Yes Yes School website
36 National Park College Hot Springs, Arkansas$2,94027%32%2Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, Minnesota$4,900-37%4Yes No Yes School website
38 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, Arkansas$2,44521%37%1Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Wallace State Community College Hanceville, Alabama$3,51023%35%4Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Craven Community College New Bern, North Carolina$1,82415%14%2Yes No Yes School website
41 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio$3,8087%15%5Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Northshore Technical Community College Bogalusa, Louisiana$3,2149%31%1Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina$2,1284%13%2Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Durham Technical Community College Durham, North Carolina$2,06630%10%2Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, Missouri$3,5644%24%1Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Central Maine Community College Auburn, Maine$2,76028%27%1Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Camden County College Blackwood, New Jersey$3,3302%15%2Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio$3,56719%12%3Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Richmond Community College Hamlet, North Carolina$2,43211%11%3Yes Yes Yes School website
50 GateWay Community College Phoenix, Arizona$2,06427%14%1Yes Yes Yes School website

A Guide to Online Medical Assistant Programs

Medical assistants usually work in doctors’ offices or other healthcare facilities. Although their duties vary depending on the facility in which they work, medical assistants generally perform basic-to-intermediate administrative, clerical and clinical tasks. They work closely with healthcare professionals of all kinds, and may schedule appointments, record patient histories and personal information, help with examinations, prepare blood for the lab, and measure and record vital signs. Although educational requirements vary, professionals with a diploma, a certificate or in some cases an associate degree, may find employers more ready to hire and train them. The following section outlines medical assistant education and training in detail, with a sharp focus on distance learning options.

Higher Education Timeline: Online Medical Assistant Programs

No universal educational requirements exist for medical assistants. This means that aspiring professionals in the field have myriad training options from which to choose – although they need to be cognizant of state exams and other requirements that may apply. Many medical assistant programs can be achieved in two years or less at a junior college, community college, technical college or vocational school. However, these schools continue to add online programs to help students earn their credential they need in the most flexible academic environment possible.

Online Diploma Programs

Also called degree programs, students can take medical assisting diploma coursework at trade and vocational schools online. These programs generally last between one year and 18 months, but can be completed in as little as eight or nine months. Courses focus on a combination of both clinical and administrative skills. Many online programs offer self-paced study, while others have various real-time elements, meaning that students interact with professors or peers via chat or other communication tools. Concepts of medical assisting diploma programs include human anatomy and medical terminology, as well as pharmacology and front office procedures. Students also receive training in first aid, as well as how to prepare patients for exams. Entry requirements typically include a high school diploma or equivalent.

Online Associate Degrees in Medical Assisting

Full-time students can usually earn an online AAS degree in medical assisting in two years or four semesters. Programs consist of an estimated 65 credits, split with 50 credits going toward medical assistant core courses, and 15 credits going toward general studies elective courses. Students who achieve an associate degree can enter the workforce right away. They also become eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination, as well as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination. Achieving an online associate degree from an accredited institution will propel many students to the top level of potential earnings and ready them for certifications that make them much more marketable for more lucrative positions.

Baker College
  • Enrollment: 5,356
  • Tuition: $7,740
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Michigan
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assistant
Midway College
  • Enrollment: 1,839
  • Tuition: $20,850
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Kentucky
  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting

Specialties and Areas of Concentration

Many medical assistants train to handle a wide range of clerical and administrative responsibilities. Yet some professionals may seek specific training to better serve the medical facility in which they work – or the physician from whom they work. Medical assistants tend to steer their education into one of three categories:

Clinical medical assisting: This educational track focuses mostly on patient care. It includes hands-on work with patients, documenting their vital signs, preparing them for medical exams, performing minor treatments and counseling them on self-administered care or how to take medication once they return home. While they may do some administrative tasks, such as managing the inventory of medical supplies, students pursuing this course of study usually concentrate on the clinical. To become a formally trained clinical medical assistant, students pursue a certificate course or a two-year associate degree. Most online classroom experience is supplemented with real-world "practice" study that prepares them for the rigors of the job.

Administrative medical assisting: Students in an administrative medical assisting program learn how to manage the day-to-day operations of a health care facility. This includes managing patient records, accounting and billing. This line of work requires excellent written and oral skills, telephone communication skills and organizational skills. Students who become administrative medical assistants may serve as liaison between insurance companies and patients, and could be responsible for basic business operations.

Specialized medical assisting: Specialized medical assistants work in a narrowly focused field, and their education reflects that. They must complete an accredited training program and successfully pass a certificate test. Specialists may focus on areas such as family medicine, geriatrics, OB/GYN, internal women's health, surgery and many other specific fields of interest.

Accredited Certificates

Certifications are not always necessary, but students often find that supplementing education with certification improves their job prospects and their potential salary. There are five accredited organizations that provide certifications for medical assistant students or graduates, all of which may be prepared for and taken online.

  • The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification. To be eligible, candidates must either graduate from an accredited medical assisting program or have previously passed the CMA and are attempting to recertify.
  • The American Medical Technologists (AMT) offer the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification. To be eligible, candidates must have graduated or be scheduled to graduate from a program accredited by the Department of Education, or have graduated or be scheduled to graduate from a military medical assistant program. Candidates may also take the test if they worked five of the last seven years as a medical assistant, or if they worked as an instructor at an accredited program.
  • The National Center for Competency Testing offers the National Certified Medical Assistant certification (NCMA). Current students and graduates from recognized programs may apply. Those with two years of work experience in the field, as well as those with equivalent military training may also apply. Instructors with more than 10 years experience are eligible, as are foreign physicians or RNs with documented U.S. equivalency.
  • The National Healthcareer Association offers the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification, as well as the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant certification.

Medical Assistant Degree Search Tool

It can be a challenge evaluating the potential online medical assistant degree, diploma, and certificate programs across the country. Some schools offer options for focusing on a number of specialties, others are more generalized. How much do the programs cost, what types of schools are out there, and is financial aid available? The search tool below assists prospective medical assistant students find the best match for building their careers, sorting programs by factors including the cost of tuition, the kind of accreditation, online resources and other assets new students need for success.

Finding a Strong Online Medical Assistant Program

Since there is no unified standard of requirements for medical assistant training and education, it is important for students to be meticulous in their own research regarding the criteria of the institutions they are considering. Cost and affordability are, of course, factors to consider, as are the availability of financial aid and scholarships. But other factors may trump price. Look for the following attributes in any school you consider.

An Official Stamp of Approval

Accreditation is the process of reviewing and approvingan institution or program by a government-endorsed agency. This process ensures a standard of academic excellence that is recognized by other educational entities and employers. This attribute is arguably the most important aspect of school selection. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence is the governing body responsible for accrediting all recognized certificates. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the largest accreditor in the health/sciences field. The organization maintains a list of accredited medical assisting programs throughout the country, for both traditional and online courses of study. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) also maintains a list of accredited programs on its website.

Student and Graduate Support Services

Studies show a direct correlation between the level of student support provided by a school and graduation success rates. Students should have access to an advisor who helps them enroll and determine their course structure and schedule, as well as their concentration and areas of study. The advisor should remain with the student through graduation, helping him or her adjust to new levels of academic challenges along the way. Upon graduation, alumni should receive support from their school in help with job placement or in the pursuit of further post-secondary education. Alumni should receive these services for the rest of their lives at no extra cost.

Resources that Matter

Since distance-learning students are limited to mostly digital interaction, they must be supported by valuable resources that they can access online, including communication technology, remote support and digital libraries. For medical assisting students, it is especially important for their school to coordinate some kind of hands-on work program, because some of the subject matter requires students to physically engage with equipment and tools in order to become competent in the field.

Integration with Real-World Facilities

The healthcare industry is in constant flux, and technology, procedures and tools are always evolving. The student must choose a school that displays a demonstrated connection to actual, real-world facilities. This could be achieved through faculty work in the field or partnerships with healthcare entities. Only then can students ensure that the skills they are learning will be the most up-to-date, the most applicable and the most marketable.