Top Online Medical Assistant Programs and Schools

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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.

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

Best-Online-Medical-Assistant-Degrees Bedge
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Best Online Medical Assisting Programs 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

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.

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 $18,021 79% - 100% 1 Yes Yes Yes

In just 22 months students can graduate from Independence University's online option for receiving an associate degree in occupational studies. Graduates pursue positions such as medical assistants, pharmacy technicians or medical coders. The program entails 90.5 credit hours in coursework such as Principles of Drug Administration and the Psychology of Motivation. You will have access to one-on-one mentoring and free tutoring services. Additionally, all students receive a laptop and tablet with enrollment.

School website
2 Weber State University Ogden, Utah $4,611 58% - 50% 2 Yes Yes Yes

At Bellevue University, students interested in becoming a medical or clinical laboratory technician or technologist can apply for the online program to complete a bachelor's degree in health science. Curriculum covers 40-41 credits in classes such as Wellness for Life, Abnormal Psychology and Medical Terminology. You must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to graduate. BRUIN Support helps online learners with academic advising and there is 24/7 technical assistance available through the Service Desk. Applicants must demonstrate satisfactory completion of high school.

School website
3 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin $6,698 15% 81% 62% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students seeking a career as a medical office assistant can major in health science at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Although the majority of the program is delivered on campus, certain classes are offered online. In order to graduate, you must maintain a 2.0 GPA while working through 120 credits in topics such as medical terminology and health economics. You will also be required to work with a local agency or medical facility to complete a field experience. Admissions criteria are based on class rank, ACT or SAT scores, GPA and community involvement.

School website
4 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska $6,840 62% - 32% 1 Yes No Yes

Students interested in becoming a Clinical Laboratory Assistant (CLA) can register for Weber State University's online certificate program. You must work at or have access to a laboratory, as well as partner with a professional mentor who is willing to supervise your work. On top of clinical experience, students will complete the class Core Clinical Laboratory Skills with a grade C or higher in order to graduate. Curriculum covers lab safety, specimen processing, phlebotomies and urinalysis.

School website
5 Illinois State University Normal, Illinois $9,827 49% 89% 73% 1 No Yes Yes School website
6 Park University Parkville, Missouri $11,730 49% 85% 27% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan $15,936 93% 78% 41% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, Ohio $9,322 58% 76% 72% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Columbia College Columbia, Missouri $7,887 27% - 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan $11,144 69% 78% 51% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota $6,984 61% 83% 43% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin $6,298 28% 73% 53% 1 Yes No Yes School website
13 Cleary University Howell, Michigan $17,500 94% 47% 39% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, Indiana $7,104 45% 92% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Northwood University Midland, Michigan $23,860 93% 67% 57% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, Colorado $22,360 96% - 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
17 University of Mississippi University, Mississippi $7,644 65% 78% 64% 1 No Yes Yes School website
18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida $20,760 100% 70% 43% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn, New York $24,500 95% 67% 69% 1 Yes No Yes School website
20 New England College Henniker, New Hampshire $23,162 77% 99% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Louisiana State University at Alexandria Alexandria, Louisiana $4,984 75% 33% 28% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
22 National University La Jolla, California $13,016 4% - 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota $21,250 97% 57% 49% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Belhaven University Jackson, Mississippi $22,726 100% 43% 51% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls, Oregon $8,110 60% 73% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
26 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina $4,365 42% 70% 61% 1 No Yes Yes School website
27 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire $7,200 6% - 21% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 State University of New York at Canton Canton, New York $6,470 85% 83% 33% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 University of Wisconsin-Parkside Kenosha, Wisconsin $6,298 8% 62% 35% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Nebraska Methodist College Omaha, Nebraska $13,632 75% 35% 49% 2 No No Yes School website
31 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana $6,401 75% 63% 57% 1 No Yes Yes School website
32 Clarkson College Omaha, Nebraska $11,976 58% 52% 17% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, Colorado $5,693 18% 64% 31% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Norfolk State University Norfolk, Virginia $5,318 40% 85% 37% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 SUNY Polytechnic Institute Utica, New York $6,470 90% 64% 45% 1 No No Yes School website
36 Montana State University-Billings Billings, Montana $4,397 53% - 28% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 National Louis University Chicago, Illinois $12,456 5% 76% 25% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Warner Pacific College Portland, Oregon $22,050 98% 53% 45% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Southwest Baptist University Bolivar, Missouri $21,600 82% 90% 48% 1 No Yes Yes School website
40 Tiffin University Tiffin, Ohio $22,800 91% 76% 44% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma $15,912 44% - 38% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, Ohio $11,880 21% 58% 47% 1 No No Yes School website
43 South Texas College McAllen, Texas $2,330 2% - - 1 No Yes Yes School website
44 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, Louisiana $5,407 44% 51% 54% 1 No Yes Yes School website
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 $2,688 66% 33% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Barton Community College Great Bend, Kansas $2,304 69% 29% 8 Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota $4,824 7% 34% 12 Yes Yes Yes School website
4 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri $3,600 20% 22% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
5 North Central Missouri College Trenton, Missouri $3,270 30% 37% 7 Yes No Yes School website
6 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska $2,625 31% 13% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia $2,136 - 23% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Central Wyoming College Riverton, Wyoming $2,136 63% 26% 3 Yes No Yes School website
9 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas $1,824 44% 31% 1 Yes No Yes School website
10 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, Mississippi $2,400 62% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina $1,824 16% 10% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Arkansas Northeastern College Blytheville, Arkansas $2,156 42% 28% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio $3,169 44% 16% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, Iowa $3,960 31% 35% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Central Community College Grand Island, Nebraska $2,520 34% 32% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, Minnesota $4,768 33% 64% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota $4,874 5% 22% 7 Yes No Yes School website
18 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi $2,800 42% 28% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas $2,460 3% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Eastern Gateway Community College Steubenville, Ohio $3,510 22% 19% 2 Yes No Yes School website
21 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, North Dakota $3,469 41% 28% 4 Yes No Yes School website
22 Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee, Washington $3,393 25% 30% 1 Yes No Yes School website
23 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota $4,969 - 26% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, Oregon $4,092 44% 29% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, Mississippi $2,800 21% 22% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
26 McLennan Community College Waco, Texas $2,976 25% 22% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls, Montana $2,496 5% 15% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, North Carolina $1,824 18% 72% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming $2,136 42% 22% 3 Yes No Yes School website
30 North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville, Georgia $2,136 - 26% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Hinds Community College Raymond, Mississippi $2,640 25% 18% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia $2,136 - 45% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas $2,940 19% 9% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, Washington $3,328 30% 32% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Cedar Valley College Lancaster, Texas $3,330 6% 9% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 National Park College Hot Springs, Arkansas $2,940 27% 32% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, Minnesota $4,900 - 37% 4 Yes No Yes School website
38 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, Arkansas $2,445 21% 37% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Wallace State Community College Hanceville, Alabama $3,510 23% 35% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Craven Community College New Bern, North Carolina $1,824 15% 14% 2 Yes No Yes School website
41 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio $3,808 7% 15% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Northshore Technical Community College Bogalusa, Louisiana $3,214 9% 31% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina $2,128 4% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Durham Technical Community College Durham, North Carolina $2,066 30% 10% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, Missouri $3,564 4% 24% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Central Maine Community College Auburn, Maine $2,760 28% 27% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Camden County College Blackwood, New Jersey $3,330 2% 15% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio $3,567 19% 12% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Richmond Community College Hamlet, North Carolina $2,432 11% 11% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
50 GateWay Community College Phoenix, Arizona $2,064 27% 14% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website

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.

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