Online Medical Assisting Programs

December 8, 2021 • 4 Min Read

Medical Assistant Programs Online

Medical assistants record patients' medical histories, schedule appointments, and measure vital signs. Medical assistants earn less than the U.S. median salary but enjoy significant growth projections for 2020-2030. Trade and community colleges help people enter this profession with 1- to 2-year certificate, diploma, and associate programs.

The following article answers popular questions, discusses online medical assisting programs' benefits, and provides a sample curriculum. Other information covers how prospective students pick the right program. The final section provides links to organizations for learners taking medical assisting classes online.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assisting

true Q. Do medical assistants require a license or certification?

Most states do not require a license or certification. However, many professionals earn a certification to increase their salary potential and explore new careers.

true Q. How much do online medical assisting classes cost?

Online medical assisting programs charge either a per-credit or per-program tuition rate. Some programs offer a tuition discount to learners who pay the program's total tuition up front.

true Q. What can medical assistants specialize in?

Medical assistants specialize in many fields, depending on their medical assisting online program. Options include administration and clinical work.

true Q. How long does it take to become a medical assistant online?

Top online medical assistant programs take 1-3 years to finish. Learners earning a certificate or diploma graduate sooner than peers working toward an associate degree.

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.

Featured Online Medical Assistant Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Benefits of Taking Medical Assisting Classes Online

The best online schools for medical assistants offer many benefits, such as academic flexibility, affordability, and convenience. Some programs feature morel advantages.

Many online medical assistant programs use an asynchronous format. Students do coursework and exams around their schedule. This feature opens up higher education to people who could not otherwise enroll. However, online medical assisting programs require some synchronous experiences, such as clinical rotations. Typical online programs charge an affordable tuition rate. Full- and part-time students may also qualify for institutional, federal, or private financial aid programs. Certificate- and degree-seekers enjoy further savings by not living on or commuting to campus. School financial aid advisors help learners explore other ways to save. Online education lets prospective students research top online medical assistant programs nationwide. Other advantages include the ability to learn anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Learners use this benefit to select a space that best fits their learning style. Students in need can access their school's support services at the touch of a button.

How to Choose an Online Medical Assistant Program

Some medical assisting programs offer the choice between a certificate and an associate degree. A certificate features a shorter curriculum focusing just on healthcare courses. It appeals to learners wanting to start a job in less than a year.

An associate degree takes 2-3 years to earn, depending on enrollment status. The program includes medical assisting courses and general education classes. Earning an associate qualifies graduates to apply to a bachelor's-completion program. Other benefits may include a higher starting salary.

Reputable colleges offering medical assisting classes online hold regional accreditation. These schools also need national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Top schools attain accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). ABHES boasts over 50 years of accrediting experience.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) evaluates colleges' medical assisting programs. The CAAHEP website helps prospective students pick a top program.

Choosing the right program requires research. Some online medical assisting programs may not consider applicants who did not pass the GED exam. Not all programs offer the specialized courses some learners need to achieve their career goals. Other considerations include total cost, financial aid opportunities, and program length.

Many online medical assisting programs publish data on graduate outcomes, including starting salary and top employers. Some schools put this information on the program website.

Online Medical Assisting Class Options

Online medical assisting programs teach topics such as anatomy, healthcare law, and procedures. Learners master many clerical and administrative tasks. Programs end with a clinical externship where learners work under experienced medical assistants. Some certificates and degrees prepare students to pass a certification exam.

The following sample curriculum highlights courses students complete in an associate degree or certificate program. Please note that not all programs offer these courses. The academic experience, graduation requirements, and learning outcomes vary among programs. Contact an admissions advisor to learn more about the student experience.

  • Medical Terminology

    Medical terminology introduces students to many medical terms. Students master these terms' spellings and pronunciations. Each unit focuses on a different topic, such as body systems, diseases, and other medical conditions. Learners use this vocabulary in more advanced courses and the clinical externship.
  • Medical Surgical Procedures

    The class covers how medical assistants help physicians and RNs with medical procedures. Course modules cover different procedures, surgical specialties, and medical instruments. Students further develop their skills by completing a research-based project. Other assessments may include demonstrating skills during an in-person lab or similar experience.
  • Anatomy and Physiology 1

    Learners take anatomy and physiology after mastering medical terminology and other basic allied health topics. Coursework includes studying the body's systems, including muscles, nerves, and skin. Students leave the course able to write a medical report. They can also describe each body system's purpose and functions. Most programs' graduation requirements include a second anatomy and physiology course.
  • Medical Coding

    Medical assistants must know how to input medical information into a database. This course helps students master the ICD-10 coding system, the industry standard. Students do so by using special software and doing exercises. Advanced assignments cover ICD-10-PCS. Assessments may ask learners to create and edit simulated patient profiles.
  • Pharmacology

    Although medical assistants cannot prescribe or administer drugs, they must understand how medication affects patients. The course focuses on how the body processes drugs. Students learn drugs' positive and negative effects, and pharmacology's history. Coursework requires students to study drug classifications and many drugs' primary uses. Learners leave the course able to identify drugs that patients take for different conditions.

Graduation Requirements for Medical Assisting Programs

Typical online medical assisting programs require an externship. The 160-hour experience occurs at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or private practice. Students gain hands-on experience working under physicians, RNs, and medical assistants. Learners submit timesheets weekly. The final grade may depend on supervisor feedback.

Some schools require students to take a certification exam-preparation course or complete an exam-review process during the program. It may involve 1-2 hours of specialized coursework each week. Earning a certification helps new professionals enhance their resume. However, learners need not pass a certification exam to graduate.

Online medical assistant degrees ask learners to build their physical strength and agility. These requirements include lifting heavy loads, walking long distances, and providing manual resistance during patients' physical therapy. Prospective students with a physical disability should consider their abilities and research related healthcare degrees.

Medical Assistant Resources

Prospective students research top programs on the ABHES website. The Student Center discusses accreditation's importance, how to transfer credit, and the latest information on school closures. AAMA provides certified medical assistant exam-preparation materials. It also offers continuing education and a blog with the profession's latest trends. The AAMA Career Center helps students strengthen their resume-writing and interviewing skills. AAMP awards the registered medical assistant and registered phlebotomist certifications. Professionals with three years of relevant experience may sit for the certification exams. AAMP offers a study guide and other exam-preparation materials. Medical assistants with U.S. citizenship may qualify for ARMA membership. Other requirements may include a recommendation letter and official transcripts. Members enjoy a private job board and continuing education courses. Medical assistants specializing in administrative tasks should consider joining AAHAM. Members attend networking events and take continuing education courses. They also get discounts on many services. Full-time students do not pay a membership fee.

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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