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
Most states do not require a license or certification. However, many professionals earn a certification to increase their salary potential and explore new careers.
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.
Medical assistants specialize in many fields, depending on their medical assisting online program. Options include administration and clinical work.
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.
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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.
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 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.
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.
Medical Surgical Procedures
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.
Anatomy and Physiology 1
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.
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.