Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

Updated December 1, 2022

Medical Assistant schools and programs are available in several different educational venues in Washington, including community colleges and vocational schools.

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Medical assistants are in great demand in Washington, with double-digit job growth expected well into the current decade. Medical assistant schools and programs are available in several different educational venues in Washington, including community colleges and vocational schools. While medical assistant salaries vary depending on the area, the hourly median wage in Washington is almost $2 more than the national wage. Unlike most other states, medical assistants in Washington can become certified or registered by the state department of health. This shows that the state recognizes the contributions medical assistants make to healthcare in the state and understands the importance of ensuring excellence in the field. Find out what's required to join the ranks of registered or certified medical assistants in Washington, including education, certification and more.

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Washington's Top Medical Assisting Schools

OUR METHODOLOGY+

To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

  • Accredited at the institutional level
  • Private nonprofit or public school
  • Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools
  • Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

Schools were then scored on factors such as:

  • Cost & Financial Aid
  • Number and variety of program offerings
  • Student-teacher ratios
  • Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
  • Placement and support services offered
  • Academic/Career counseling services
  • Employment services
  • Loan default rates

These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Students interested in beginning a career as a medical assistant may wish to consider completing a fulfilling online program in medical assisting. Students learning in these programs develop skills in understanding medical ethics, properly processing medical billing and insurance, and even assisting in basic and advanced medical procedures. We've taken the time to look through the programs offered throughout Washington and compiled a list of the best schools in terms of student success rate and post-graduation job placement. Check below to find our list of the top medical assisting programs in Washington for 2017.

#1 Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

Renton Technical College

  • Renton, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners can earn an associate degree or certificate in medical assisting from Renton Technical College. In addition to on-campus programs in Washington, the school delivers online classes students can attend remotely. Online learners often work full time while completing their program, scheduling their studies around work.

While completing an associate or certificate program in medical assisting, participants develop technical skills and gain broad knowledge in the field. After completing their program, individuals can qualify for entry-level jobs related to medical assisting. Graduates can also transfer their credits into a four-year program and obtain a bachelor's degree before seeking employment.

Renton Technical College at a Glance:

Number of Associate Programs: 41

Number of Associate Programs Available Online: 3

Number of Certificate Programs: 74

Number of Certificate Programs Available Online: 6

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,688
Out-of-state
$4,137
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,755
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

Lower Columbia College

  • Longview, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

A public institution, Lower Columbia College provides medical assisting-specific career preparation through associate and certificate programs. Students located anywhere can enroll in the school's online programs. Online learners often work full time while completing their program, scheduling their studies around work.

In addition to coursework, associate and certificate programs in medical assisting feature practical training opportunities to prepare participants for work in the field. These programs qualify individuals to apply to entry-level medical assisting positions after graduation. Graduates can also pursue a bachelor's degree, which they may use to qualify for more advanced roles with higher earning potential.

Lower Columbia College at a Glance:

Number of Associate Programs: 28

Number of Certificate Programs: 54

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,596
Out-of-state
$4,052
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,703
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

Whatcom Community College

  • Bellingham, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Whatcom Community College delivers associate and certificate programs to prepare learners for medical assisting careers. Students located anywhere can enroll in the school's online programs. These flexible remote programs are a great option for those unable to move for their education.

Medical assisting programs at the associate and certificate levels provide coursework and training that allow participants to develop a strong foundation in the field. This training is usually sufficient to begin entry-level jobs in medical assisting and related fields. Additionally, many graduates enroll in bachelor's programs, saving money by transferring associate or certificate credits.

Whatcom Community College at a Glance:

Number of Associate Programs: 22

Number of Certificate Programs: 24

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,305
Out-of-state
$9,750
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,152
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

Clark College

  • Vancouver, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Clark College delivers associate and certificate programs to prepare learners for medical assisting careers. In addition to on-campus programs in Vancouver, Washington, the school offers online classes students can attend remotely. Online learning eliminates the need to relocate and allows learners the flexibility to maintain full-time employment.

Participants in associate and certificate programs complete medical assisting-specific coursework and training. These programs qualify individuals to apply to entry-level medical assisting positions after graduation. To expand their career options, graduates of associate or certificate programs can complete a bachelor's degree before applying for positions in the field.

Clark College at a Glance:

Number of Associate Programs: 46

Number of Associate Programs Available Online: 2

Number of Certificate Programs: 48

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,618
Out-of-state
$8,997
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,233
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries In Washington

South Puget Sound Community College

  • Olympia, WA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

A public institution, South Puget Sound Community College provides medical assisting-specific career preparation through associate and certificate programs. Based in Olympia, Washington, the school delivers programs online and on campus. Many online learners complete coursework during evenings and on weekends so as not to interfere with their work schedule.

Associate degree-seekers explore basic concepts related to medical assisting. Individuals can pursue entry-level medical assisting positions after graduation. Graduates can also choose to transfer to a bachelor's program for continued education and expanded opportunities, often with a reduced course load or fewer prerequisites.

South Puget Sound Community College at a Glance:

Number of Associate Programs: 26

Number of Certificate Programs: 37

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,127
Out-of-state
$9,458
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,974
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Certification & Training Requirements for Washington Medical Assistants

1. How does Washington State define "medical assistant?"

Medical assistants are skilled practitioners who perform a wide range of roles in healthcare settings while carrying out administrative and clinical duties. In addition, the duties of a medical assistant-phlebotomist include capillary, venous, arterial invasive procedures for blood withdrawal, CLIA waived, moderate and high complexity tests, and EKG. A medical assistant-hemodialysis technician operates a dialysis machine that helps patients with reduced kidney function eliminate toxic waste from their bodies.

2. Do medical assistants have to be certified in Washington State?

Washington State requires people in healthcare facilities who act as medical assistants to have a Department of Health (DOH)-issues credential. Practicing as a medical assistant includes duties such as administering vaccines and intravenous injections, assisting in certain medical procedures, and withdrawing blood.

3. What are the classes of medical assistants accepted under Washington State law?

There are four classes of medical assistants under Washington State law, each with its own education, training, and certification requirements, including (but not limited to):

Medical Assistant – certifiedComplete an accredited medical assisting training program or military equivalentPass one of the required exams (see below)Complete DOH application and pay a fee
Medical Assistant – hemodialysis technicianComplete a hemodialysis training program
Medical Assistant – phlebotomistComplete an accredited phlebotomy training program or qualifying in-service training programComplete a DOH application and pay a fee
Medical Assistant – registeredObtain an endorsement by a healthcare practitioner, clinic, or group practiceComplete a DOH application, submit attestation of endorsement, and pay a fee

4. What certification exams are accepted by Washington State?

Washington recognizes the following certifications, which can be obtained by attending an accredited program and passing a certifying exam.

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
  • Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA)

5. Are medical assistants in Washington State allowed to call in prescriptions or prescription refills?

Because the medical assistant statute does not address prescriptions, medical assistants need to consult with their supervising healthcare practitioners to determine what their duties should be relating to calling in and refilling prescriptions.

6. Who can supervise a medical assistant?

The following healthcare professionals can supervise and take responsibility for medical assistants in Washington:

  • Medical physician or medical physician assistant
  • Osteopathic physician or osteopathic physician assistant
  • Podiatric physician
  • Registered nurse
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioner
  • Naturopathic physician
  • Optometrist

7. Does Washington State medical assistant certification need to be renewed?

Yes. The credential must be renewed every two years on the credential holder's birthday.

Washington Medical Assistant Salaries

Compare medical assistant earnings in Washington with national salary figures with the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data below.

 Annual Wage
25th percentile
Annual Wage
Median
Annual Wage
75th percentile
Hourly Wage
Median
Washington$30,890$35.280$40,620$16.96
National$25,500$29,960$36,070$14.41
Source: BLS, 2014

Medical Assistant Salaries in Washington Cities

Medical assistant salaries vary according to the geographical area, as illustrated by the 2015 BLS wage amounts in the map below. The highest paying wages in Washington are located in the Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue area while the lowest wages are in the Kennewick, Richland area.

     
AreaAnnual Wage
25th percentile
Annual Wage
Median
Annual Wage
75th percentile
Hourly Wage
Median
Bellingham, WA$32,670$36,830$43,470$17.71
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA$31,380$34,580$37,760$16.62
Kennewick-Richland, WA$27,140$31,460$36,800$15.12
Longview, WA$29,950$36,810$43,680$17.70
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA$32,740$35,980$39,230$17.30
Olympia-Tumwater, WA$32,730$35,800$40,790$17.21
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$32,970$37,110$43,110$17.84
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA$28,830$33,790$38,620$16.25
Walla Walla, WA$25,420$30,530$36,930$14.68
Yakima, WA$28,110$32,360$37,070$15.56
Source: BLS, 2014

Medical assisting jobs are expected to grow 29 percent from 2012-2022. An increase in available technology and a growing population of older adults are contributing to the growth rate for Washington medical assisting jobs and the rest of the country. The table below compares Washington medical assisting job growth with national growth.

Medical Assistant Estimated Employment Growth 2012-2022

 Average Annual
Openings
Current
Employment
Projected
Employment 2022
Jobs
Added
Growth
Rate
Washington65014,29017,7503,46024.2%
National26,990560,800723,700162,90029%
*Source: Projections Central, 2012-2022

Washington Medical Assisting Schools Spotlight

While there are many medical assisting programs available at a wide variety of community colleges, private career colleges and vocational schools in Washington, we've chosen a small sample to help you begin your search.

CLOVER PARK TECHNICAL COLLEGE

School Type:
Community College

Accreditation:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

School highlights:
Students will receive HIV/AIDS and HIPAA certifications from the program
The program is comprised of five quarters of instruction
The school and students work together to choose externship site

Programs offered:
Certificate, Medical Assistant

Clover Park Technical College

OLYMPIC COLLEGE

School Type:
Community College

Accreditation:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

School highlights:
Graduates will be able to perform clinical and administrative tasks appropriate for an ambulatory healthcare setting
Coursework includes a practicum for medical assistants
Deadline for application is December 1

Programs offered:
Associate of Applied Science, Medical Assisting
Certificate of Specialization, Medical Assisting

Olympic College

YAKIMA VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE

School Type:
Community College

Accreditation:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

School highlights:
Job placement rate of 91% over past five years
National Board of Certification pass rate of 95%
Courses include topics such as medical terminology, medical coding, and clinical procedures

Programs offered:
Associate of Applied Science, Medical Assisting, Certificate, Medical Assisting

Yakima Valley Community College

Resources for Washington Medical Assistants

AAMT-Washington Bill Fact Sheet
This document from the American Association of Medical Technologists outlines the medical assisting law that came into effect July 1, 2013.

Salary.com, Washington Medical Assistants
Learn about Washington medical assisting salaries and sort through job listings.

Washington State Department of Health - Medical Assistant
Find out how to become a certified or registered medical assistant and renew certification in Washington State.

Washington State Department of Health Credentialing Requirements
This fact sheet explains the requirements to apply for a Medical Assistant-Certified credential from the Washington Department of Health.

Washington State Society of Medical Assistants
WSSMA is a member organization under the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) that provides continuing education, scholarships, networking, accreditation information, and an online newsletter for medical assistants in Washington.

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