The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

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Updated January 25, 2023

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Medical assistant programs are flexible and affordable and offer a fast route to working in healthcare. Discover the best online medical assistant programs.

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Medical assistant talking on the phone at a desk Credit: FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images

When you visit the doctor, the first people to help you will most likely be medical assistants. Medical assistants take vital signs, prepare patients for exams, and draw blood. They also perform administrative tasks such as recording patient histories and scheduling appointments.

Medical assistants work in healthcare facilities like hospitals, doctor's offices, and urgent care clinics. If you're interested in becoming a medical assistant, this guide can help you find the best program for you.

Why Enroll in a Medical Assistant Program Online?

  • Online medical assistant programs let you complete coursework at home and on your own schedule.
  • Most medical assistant online programs last just six months to two years, allowing you to enter the workforce quickly.
  • You'll gain valuable skills and knowledge in anatomy, medical terminology, first aid, and pharmacology.
  • Completing a medical assistant program online can lay the foundation for advanced study later on.
  • Medical assistants can enjoy long-term job security in an in-demand healthcare role.

Did You Know?


  • There were 743,500 medical assistants in the U.S. as of May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Medical assistants don't need a state-issued license and can work anywhere, making relocation easy.
  • There are many specialties available to medical assistants, including pediatrics, podiatry, dentistry, and ophthalmology.
  • Medical assistants can continue their education and transition into higher-paying healthcare careers, such as nursing.

Check Out Our Featured Healthcare Programs

Does Accreditation Matter for Online Medical Assistant Programs?

Accreditation matters greatly for online medical assistant programs.

Accreditation indicates that a school meets certain educational standards as determined by a recognized accrediting agency. Whether a school is accredited can impact your:

  • Eligibility for financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans
  • Ability to get certification as a medical assistant
  • Ability to transfer credits or get credit for coursework when seeking an advanced degree
  • Earning potential and ability to get a job, as many employers prefer to hire medical assistants who have attended accredited schools or programs

There are two accrediting organizations that accredit medical assistant programs:

Top 5 Online Accredited Medical Assistant Programs

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#1 The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $371

Out of State | $371

Credits to Graduate: 58

Purdue Global's online medical assistant certificate program offers you extensive hands-on instruction and coursework in accounting, reception, and patient referrals. You'll also complete an externship at a local hospital or another healthcare facility. The program can qualify you for up to five professional certifications.

Admission requirements include a high school or GED diploma. Purdue Global maintains a generous transfer credit policy and awards college credit for life experience. Active-duty service members and veterans can save at least 33% on their education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,080
Out-of-state
$13,356
Retention Rate
33%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
43,927
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Avg. Cost per Year:

In State | $22,050

Out of State | $22,050

Credits to Graduate: 60

Consider Keiser if you want to earn an online medical assistant associate degree. Core classes include clinical lecture, medical law and ethics, and computerized medical office management. You'll graduate ready to take the registered medical assistant examination.

You must have a high school or GED diploma to apply. Other application steps include speaking with an admissions counselor, attending an in-person or virtual open house, and submitting the university admissions form. Keiser requires a minimum C grade in all classes to remain in good academic standing.

Average Tuition
In-state
$19,808
Out-of-state
$19,808
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
20,330
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

Jackson College

  • Jackson, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $176

Out of State | $264

Credits to Graduate: 34

JC's online medical assistant certificate program covers topics like clinical procedures, the foundations of clinical practice, and medical office procedures. You'll apply what you learn in the virtual classroom by completing a capstone and clinical practicum in the third semester. You must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to stay in good academic standing.

JC accepts up to 19 transfer credits, making it an attractive option if you're returning to school. The six-step admissions process includes submitting financial aid forms, completing online orientation, and registering for classes.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,846
Out-of-state
$10,461
Retention Rate
100%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,140
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

University of Providence

  • Great Falls, MT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $524

Out of State | $524

Credits to Graduate: 16

You should look into UP's medical assistant online program if you want to start your healthcare career as soon as possible. Coursework emphasizes in-demand skills, such as taking vitals, maintaining records, and ensuring patients' comfort. You must complete a 160-hour practicum in order to graduate.

Admission requirements include a criminal background check, drug screen, and valid CPR certification. You must also update your immunizations if necessary. You can qualify for a tuition reduction if you work at Great Falls Clinic.

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,462
Out-of-state
$26,462
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
99%
Students Enrolled
1,005
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 The Best Accredited Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2023

Dakota College at Bottineau

  • Bottineau, ND
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $189

Out of State | $283

Credits to Graduate: 60-61 (associate degree); 38 (certificate) 

DCB's online medical assistant program lets you choose between an associate degree and a certificate. Core classes include computer applications in healthcare, the principles of nutrition, and clinical specialties. Both tracks require an internship, letting you apply what you learn in a real-world, professional setting.

Application materials include a high school or GED diploma, ACT or placement exam results, and immunization records. Financial aid counselors help you fill out and submit the FAFSA. You can qualify for $1,000-$2,500 in institutional aid by demonstrating financial need or earning excellent grades.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,289
Out-of-state
$6,344
Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,060
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Graduation Requirements for Medical Assistant Programs

Medical assistant programs require you to complete coursework on fundamental concepts like anatomy, ethics, and terminology.

Some examples of courses you may need to take include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Billing and coding procedures
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Medical surgical procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Phlebotomy

Most online medical assistant programs still require an in-person externship at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or private practice. Through this real-world opportunity, you'll gain hands-on experience working with doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.

Some medical assistant programs also require you to take a certification exam prep course or complete an exam review process. Earning certification can enhance your resume. Nevertheless, you don't need to pass a certification exam to graduate.

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

Medical assistants made a median annual salary of $37,190 as of May 2021, according to the BLS.

Your salary will depend on several factors, like which state you work in, your place of work, whether you're certified, whether you have a degree, and how much work experience you have.

Typical medical assistant salaries range from around $30,000-$50,000 per year.

While you can quickly enter the workforce after completing a medical assistant program, you'll likely need to gain experience, get certified, and/or earn a degree to maximize your earning potential.

Medical assistants can go back to school to advance their healthcare careers and increase their salary potential.

How to Choose an Online Medical Assistant Program: 3 Steps

Now that you know you want to be a medical assistant, follow these three steps to find the best online medical assistant program for you.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Exploring your short- and long-term academic and career goals can help you decide where you want to work, which specialty you want to work in, and whether you want to get certified and earn a degree.

You can start your career as a medical assistant and move on to become a nurse or work in medical administration. Certification takes up to one year to get, but it can make it easier to get a job, particularly when you're just starting out.

An associate degree takes around two years to complete and can open up opportunities to continue your studies should you want a bachelor's or graduate degree later on.

Step 2: Compare Programs

Choosing the right program requires research. Some online medical assistant programs may require you to submit test scores. Others may be too long or cost more than you wish to spend.

Take time to consider what type of program will work best for your goals, budget, and lifestyle.

If you want to save as much money as possible, for example, you might prefer an in-state medical assistant program.

Be sure to look for signs of academic quality. Many online medical assistant programs publish data on graduate outcomes, such as starting salaries and top employers. You can often find this information on schools' official websites.

Explore below to find medical assistant programs in your state.

State

Step 3: Confirm Accreditation

It's vital that you confirm a medical assistant program is accredited by either CAAHEP or ABHES. You can check a school's accreditation by searching for it on the CAAHEP and ABHES websites.

Medical Assistant Resources

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

Medical assistants specializing in administrative tasks should consider joining AAHAM. You can attend networking events and take continuing education courses. You'll also get discounts on many services.

American Association of Medical Assistants

AAMA provides certified medical assistant exam prep materials. It also offers continuing education and a blog detailing the field's latest trends.

American Association of Medical Personnel

AAMP awards the registered medical assistant and registered phlebotomist certifications. If you have three years of relevant experience, you may sit for the exams. AAMP also provides a study guide and prep materials.

American Registry of Medical Assistants

Medical assistants with U.S. citizenship may qualify for ARMA membership. Other requirements may include a recommendation letter and official transcripts. Members can enjoy a private job board and continuing education courses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assisting

How long is a medical assistant program?

Medical assistant programs take around six months for a certificate and 1-2 years for an associate degree, regardless of whether the classes are in person, online, or hybrid.

You might complete your certificate or associate degree in less time if you enroll in an accelerated medical assistant program.

Do medical assistants need to have a license or certification?

No, medical assistants do not need a license or certification to work. Becoming a certified medical assistant can help you get a job, however, as many employers prefer medical assistants to be certified.

Certification can offer more job opportunities, more responsibility, and more money. To earn certification, you must typically complete an accredited medical assistant program and pass a certification exam.

How much do online medical assistant classes cost?

The cost for medical assistant classes varies widely, from less than $1,000 for a short-term course to more than $10,000 for a two-year associate degree program.

In addition, you must usually buy textbooks and medical equipment, like a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. Certification exams can cost an additional $100 or more.

What certification is best for a medical assistant?

The medical assistant certification you choose depends on your career goals.

Medical assistants who want to perform both clinical and administrative work should apply for either certified medical assistant (CMA) certification or registered medical assistant (RMA) certification.

If you want to focus on clinical tasks, consider becoming a national certified medical assistant (NCMA) or certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA).

Finally, those who want to become medical office assistants or medical secretaries can apply to become a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA).

Is it worth becoming a medical assistant?

Many people find medical assisting a worthwhile endeavor. The cost to become a medical assistant is generally low, and the time it takes to earn an optional certification or degree is quick — usually just six months to two years.

Medical assistants also benefit from job stability and an in-demand career.


Next Steps

Learn More About Becoming a Medical Assistant

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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