Becoming a Medical Assistant
Original article: https://www.medicalassistantcoursesonline.net/
If you’re looking for a career in a profession that’s expected to experience significant growth in the next couple of years, and you want to work in a clinical or administrative setting, a position as a medical assistant might be just the thing you need.
Medical Assistant Quick Facts:
- Medical assistants do a variety of tasks that fall in the administrative as well as the clinical area. During a regular day at work, a medical assistant can, for example, measure a patient’s blood pressure and give patients injections, but also record patient history, update medical records, and schedule patient appointments.
- In larger practices and in hospitals, medical assistants can specialize in one type of duty. For example, they can execute administrative work and perform administrative only duties, or specialize in clinical work and perform clinical duties. There are several other possible specializations for medical assistants, including ophthalmic and pediatric specializations.
- Communication skills are of key importance for medical assistants. They have to communicate with other medical personnel as well as patients. They also work in a fast-paced environment where the ability to communicate effectively can affect the quality of patients’ care. Interpersonal skills are just as important as communication skills. Some of the benefits of having strong interpersonal skills for medical assistants include better time management, improvement in patient care, increased productivity, and a friendlier environment for patients and coworkers alike.
- Medical assistants need to be able to multitask and pay attention to detail. It’s not uncommon for medical assistants to tackle several tasks at once, with each requiring almost their full attention. Strong organizational skills can also be very useful for medical assistants.
- By 2026, the career is expected to see a 29% increase in new positions. The profession will experience growth that’s four times the average occupation growth in the ten-year period, making a career as a medical assistant an attractive option.
- An aging population and an increased dependence on physicians for preventive medical services are usually cited as the leading drivers of the increased demand for medical assistants. As of 2016, the median pay in the profession was slightly over $15 per hour, or more than $31,000 a year.
Before you ultimately decide on a school, you should ask yourself whether an online program is for you. There are certain advantages and disadvantages by taking your classes online vs going to a traditional campus based college. It’s also important to keep in mind that degrees such as medical assisting can present particular challenges when they are taken fully online. For example, face-to-face patient care is an important aspect of the medical assisting career, and online programs lack a clinical setting that may be helpful to students in training. Fortunately, many of the schools on our list solve this problem by providing local clinical access to third party facilities.
Online Schools and Programs
Next on our list of recommended schools is Keiser Univeristy. Keiser is a private non-profit school based out of Florida, is a member of the independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, and also regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Founded by Arthur Keiser in 1977, Keiser was initially formed primarily as a business and healthcare college, and has blossomed into what it is today. The Associate of Science in Medical Assisting program at Keiser is a 2 year, 60.5 credit hour program that fully prepares students to enter and excel in the field of medical assisting. Although this program may be taken online, Keiser also offers physical campuses across the country, as well as several international campuses including China and Melbourne.
Click here to Request More Information about Keiser’s Program
Herzing University Online
Herzing University offers a variety of degree options throughout their numerous campuses. They offer the flexibility of both an Associates Degree in Medical Assisting and a Certificate / Diploma program (expect to spend 4-5 semesters to earn an Associates Degree and 1-2 for the diploma program. This timeline pertains to graduating in normal time.). While you can learn fully online, you will have access to plenty of locations if you need to visit a campus. With a variety of programs beyond the medical assistant field, you will be able to work your way up the chain of responsibility upon entering your career as a medical assistant. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois, 60614-1413, (800) 621-7400.
Boasting over 95,000 students worldwide, and serving the distance education sector since 1985, Liberty University Online is now regarded as the nations largest non-profit online university. Offering degrees from basic certification to full doctoral level degrees, they provide more than 250 different majors online. Liberty is also accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – the highest accreditation possible. Their Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Assisting is an online, 61 credit hour major that prepares students for a career in various public health departments and clinical settings. The consistent high retention and graduation rates ranks this program among the top by Online Education Database.
Harrison College is a well-respected school that offers a wide variety of programs for students. Their Associate of Applied Science Degree in medical assisting is one of only two distance learning CAAHEP-accredited programs in the nation. Additional accreditations & memberships are awarded from national organizations like the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Accrediting Council for Independent College and Schools (ACICS), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Their highly regarded medical assistant program is a 2 year, 96 credit program that prepares students to become a highly employable M.A by providing education and proficiency in f/b office procedures, laboratory tests, administering medication, vital signs, ECG machine training, and other therapeutic modalities. Their mission statements include excellence, service, compliance, and are known for their student centered education.
College of Health Care Professionals
The College of Health Care Professionals (CHCP) is accredited by the ‘Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and is a Texas-based career focused school that offers both online and campus-based degrees in the health care industry. To suit your career needs, CHCP offers both a Healthcare Management degree and an AAS in Medical Assisting online. Their curriculum allows students to take their labs and lectures online, and the option of an in-field clinical experience at a supported local campus near you. Graduating from with your AAS in Medical Assisting ensures eligibility to become a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) through the American Association of Medical Assistants.
U.S. Career Institute
For a pure online degree program, U.S. Career Institute excels for those pursuing a medical assistant certificate. With over 30 years of experience, the learning institute has grown to offer 23 certificates in areas from healthcare to business. So why did this school make the list at the number one spot? Two big things set it apart from the competition. First, as with any investment, there is a great deal of concern when it comes to the probability of your success, and an education is no different. USCI offers a money back commitment that allows you to start your courses and try them out for 5 days. If it doesn’t feel right, or if you aren’t comfortable with the classes, you can expect a refund. The Success Promise also gives you a tuition refund if you don’t get a job.
- Degrees Offered: Medical Assistant Certification which can be completed in as little as four months. You will have the option to learn at your own pace, so real length of program is up to you.
- Tuition Costs: $1,279 tuition plus $29.00 for shipping of materials. If you pay in full, you will receive a $300 discount and shipping is waived. That comes to one payment of $979 for your tuition. If you set up automatic payments, you pay $59 a month, earn a $50 discount and pay a total of $1258 in the end. Standard payment will cost a total of $1,308 when completed. You can also enhance your program for $10 a month. The base tuition includes electronic lesson books, supplements, unlimited instructor assistance and unlimited career support for graduates. Enhancing your program allows you to complete your certification online with a 100% online setting for all your coursework. You will get grades on your assignments instantly and have access to online forums. The total tuition upon completion will come to $1539 plus $29 for shipping.
- Additional Information: A few other things to keep in mind when considering this avenue towards your goals are included here. While this is an online institute, the self-paced study is offered online or by mail. USIC is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council. While information concerning the graduation rate is not available (likely due to the fact that students can take as long as they wish to graduate) the job placement guarantee linked above can give you peace of mind in knowing that you are going to find a career upon graduation. Military education benefits are also offered and should be researched in detail if they pertain to you. The school is fully approved to offer assistance and is a military friendly educational institution.
Penn Foster College
As a premier college that is prepared to help you follow your dream at a lower cost than many competitors Penn Foster easily earns a spot among the best online medical assistant schools. Learn at your own pace and earn an accredited degree online, at home, or wherever you may be. Their programs cost up to 86% less than competitive programs and since you learn at home, you save even more in travel expenses and on campus housing. Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and graduates of the Penn Foster College Medical Assistant Degree Program are eligible to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant and Certified Medical Assistant exams.
- Degrees Offered: Medical Assistant Associates Degree which is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
- Tuition: The total cost of your education will come to $4,355 which includes all books and learning materials. Since the school doesn’t have a brick and mortar campus, they save significant operating and upkeep costs that can be passed on to students. You can also follow the low monthly payments with no interest and graduate with no student debt.
- Additional Information: The length of your time studying will vary based on your previous college experience. You will have to earn 15 credits in General Studies for Medical Assistants and 50 credits (three semesters) of Medical Assistant core courses. Expect two years of study at a normal pace, but you can move through faster as this is a self-education. You can also continue through another institution to earn a bachelor’s degree as credits from Penn Foster will transfer to some other colleges. You will also enjoy Penn Foster’s Career Services called Career Cruising which helps you with a lifetime portfolio, career snapshots, resume builder, employment guide and local job postings. While there is no information about specific graduation and exam pass percentages for the medical assistant program, other programs offered by the college have very high marks. For example, veterinarian programs have a 90% exam pass rate. While this is not indicative of the numbers that are tied to the medical assistant program, it does show that the college prepares its students for success in whatever career they pursue. Finally, Penn Foster is affiliated with DANTES which qualifies U.S. military personnel for tuition reimbursement.
Established in 1847, Midway College has adapted to the changing demands of students. With a 100% online medical assistant degree program in place, you can earn your degree from a highly respected school without ever visiting a campus. With a range of associate, bachelor and graduate degree, the associate’s of science in medical assisting could be just the start of a better future for you and your family. While many colleges on this list are specialized in their particular field of education, Midway is a campus based college that now offers online programs. This gives you the ability to continue your education upon starting your career as a medical assistant to any part of the medical field you choose. If you wish to move into nursing at a later date, you won’t need to worry about transferring credits.
- Degrees Offered: Associate’s of Science in Medical Assisting
- Tuition: As this is a more robust learning institution that offers a brick and mortar option for students that wish to learn on campus, the fees are a little higher than other online only learning institutions. There is plenty of assistance available to help cover the $445 price per credit hour, so speak with financial advisors to learn what you may qualify for. Also keep in mind that your credits are much more likely to transfer from this college to another as opposed to previous schools on this list.
- Additional Information: The length of your education will vary based on your work load. In general, expect two years, but if you take on more semester hours than the norm, you can finish much quicker. You will need a total of 62 semester hours for graduation, 25 of which are general education requirements. The school may require a bit more work to get into as the Fall 2012 acceptance rate was just over 51%. Freshmen retention rates were at over 76% but graduation and certification pass rates were not available as of this writing. Midway College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate and masters degrees. With a 12:1 student/faculty ratio (likely higher online) you can rest assured that you are given some of the best instruction and attention of any college.
Anthem College Online is a school ready to help you prepare for your future, on your schedule. While the program will require a little bit of preparation to enter, you will earn a complete and fast paced education that will prepare you to move up in your chosen field. The Associate of Science degree in Medical Assistance requires that you have already earned a diploma in the field (offered at certain locations, possibly online), which makes this a great way to take the education you learned from one school and continue it here with a unique outlook on medical assisting.
- Degrees Offered: Associates of Science in Medical Assisting, Diploma in Medical Assisting (Some Campuses), Associate of Applied Science Medical Assisting (Some Campuses)
- Tuition: $27,733 for tuition and fees and $2,226.70 for books and supplies will cover the total cost of your education.
- Additional Information: Your education should take about two years if you have no previous experience. You may need to find a specific Anthem College campus to earn your Diploma online, so speak with advisors about your best course of action in regards to pre requisites. With 33% of students graduating on time, the numbers are fairly high for the school, showing a real focus on success. In addition, 100% of students report finding work upon graduation, making it a little easier for your push though those hard times, knowing that work is right around the corner.
- Accreditation: Anthem College is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). ABHES is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized, national accrediting body as well as the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS). You can find even more specific accreditations that may not relate to your particular field through Anthem College’s accreditation page.
Ashworth College takes a no nonsense approach to getting you started in your career as quickly and affordably as possible. Upon completion of your education, on your terms, you can earn your Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the schools partner, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). NHA certifications are recognized nationally and will open the door to a number of career opportunities and improved pay.
- Degrees Offered: Certified Medical Administrative Assistant
- Tuition: $604 – 744 will cover your education and payments can be made that are as low as $49 a month. Graduating with no debt is rarely that easy.
- Additional Information: Ashworth made the list due to the quick and straightforward programs they offer as well as the proof in numbers of 95.3% completion of their programs. In as little as six months you will be on your way to a career that give you the ability to start working now, but continue your education for a higher level degree if you so desire. In addition, you will take the CMAA at no fee ($105 value) and earn your wallet ID card, again free ($19) value, making this one of the most cost effective educations out there. The school is also accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.
Everest College trains more Medical Assistants than any other educational institution in the U.S. Because of this, they have a very robust and respected degree program that ensures students enter the field ready to work in a variety of environments. The diploma you earn will put you into a career quickly and leave plenty of room for advancement.
- Degrees Offered: Medical Assistant Diploma Program
- Tuition: $20,000 will cover all tuition, fees, books and supplies. While this school is not as cheap as some of the others, you will earn a diploma that is well known and respected.
- Additional Information: Diplomas generally take 61 semester hours to complete, so expect 4 – 5 semesters to finish your education. Depending on how heavy your load is you may be able to finish quicker, but at full time, you will already be working a great deal. Also discuss externship options as they are often offered at this level. Everest is a popular and wide reaching online university, but the individual information is specific by campus. You will need to check for accurate information for the campuses closest to you through this site. Here you can find more information about the statistics that work for that particular campus. For example, Dallas based campuses see a completion rate of 34.32% online for their students with a job placement rate of 32.5-63.6%. Your results may vary a great deal. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Council for Independent College and Schools you can rest assured that your education will be highly respected nationwide.
ECPI University may not be as well-known as some of the other schools on this list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t offer a robust and important degree that will prepare you for a better future. With a quick program that students finish ahead of time in most cases, you will be well on your way in no time at all.
- Degrees Offered: Associate of Applied Science in Health Science
- Tuition: $16,639 covers the cost of your tuition, fees, books and supplies, but keep in mind that foundation courses and the time it takes to graduate could change this amount.
- Additional Information: With 54% of their students graduating on time, and the average student finishing the courses in only 16 months (17 months is the length of time the program is designed to take) you can tell by the numbers that ECPI focuses on an aggressive plan to help you get where you want without delay. Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) you should also rest easy in knowing your education will work for you.
Century College is passionate about its’ mission to change students’ lives. The community, students and broader world are all a piece of the puzzle that they aim to improve through pushing success for their students and their faculty. By providing more than a book based education, Century will prepare you to make a real difference in the world around you.
- Degrees Offered: Medical Assistant Diploma
- Tuition: The cost of your tuition and fees, as well as your books and supplies will come in at just about $11,000 in total. While the name is not as well known, you do get the same education as many other schools and you pay a fraction of the price.
- Additional Information: To earn your Medical Assistant Diploma you will need to complete 48 credits. Any foundation courses can change this time period if you need them, so speak with an advisor about the exact amount of time you should expect to be in school based on your personal needs. In most cases, four semesters is all it will take for you to complete your education. 32% of students graduate on time, which is about average with other school, but the job placement rate comes in at a whopping 86%, much higher than many competitors. The schools is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation and Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)