It’s exciting. Online medical administrative assistant programs offer a flexible way to become a medical office assistant in fewer than 12 months. Grads enjoy excellent job prospects and hold professional certifications. And the skills you learn by managing a medical office translate to key skills for roles in business and other professions. Taking the first step may seem tough, but we’ve researched and vetted the top online medical administrative assistant programs from schools across the U.S. with proper accreditation and an affordable price tag. See which schools can move your medical administrative assistant education forward.
Inside Online Medical Administrative Assistant Programs
Before leaping into an online medical administrative assistant program, do your research. This page helps you discover the best path to the physician’s office and the best price. That means understanding the coursework, school accreditations, and financial aid resources to pay for your education. We’ll also outline career prospects and salaries and the differences between a clerical or clinical assistant.
Paying for Your Online Medical Office Assistant Program
Lining up your financial aid can spare you needless worry about paying for your MAA program. But you’ll have to start applying for aid as soon as possible. There are fewer federal financial aid programs for undergraduate certificates than there are for undergraduate degree programs. Beware, not all schools will accept students dependent on federal financial aid or private student loans. But take heart: there are many ways to receive tuition assistance. Let’s look them over:
What You Can Do with a Health Informatics Degree
It can be a mistake to attend a school or MAA certificate program that is not accredited. The right accreditation means a program’s curriculum has been approved by independent academic evaluators endorsed by the Department of Education. There are several types of accreditation: Institutional accreditation covers the entire school. Programmatic accreditation is offered to individual academic departments or specific programs. Employers in healthcare pay close attention to accreditation. They want to know that job applicants are fully prepared for their medical administrative roles before they hire them. There are other severe, negative implications. Students at schools and programs that are not accredited do not receive Federal financial aid of any kind. Moreover, graduates will not be eligible to sit for National Healthcare Association’s Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exams. Accreditation is voluntary. In exploring schools, be on the watch for a programmatic accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Online institutions and programs can be accredited as well, typically by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
After Your Medical Administrative Assistant Program Online
It’s important to understand the big picture. Before signing up for a certificate program, students are rightfully curious to know how to get a license, whether there will be jobs for them, and how much they can expect to be paid. Can you continue your education to assume roles with greater responsibility and better pay? That’s what this section is all about.
Do I need certification or licensure to work in as a medical admin assistant?
According to the Department of Labor, medical administrative assistants are not required to hold certification in most states. But you can increase your hiring potential to gain certification and you can find even more opportunities by earning optional certifications. The most-common certification employers are looking for is offered after you pass the CMA Certification Exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Grads can also receive certification as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists. Optional certifications can also give your career a boost. For example, the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association tells employers that you have a special aptitude for handling clerical tasks.
How much can you earn as a medical administrative assistant?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical assistants earn a median annual wage of $33,610. Your pay increases with experience. The lowest salary nationwide is $24,790, with a top-end of more than $47,250. The variables that can affect your salary is your education level, your certifications, and your experience. It may be worthwhile to complete a voluntary externship. The cost of living for your community also matters.
The following table shows estimated salaries for medical assistants and medical administrative assistants by experience level across the United States:
|Area Name||Employment||Entry-Level||Early Career||Mid-Career||Experienced||Late Career|
|District of Columbia||1,970||$29,160||$34,330||$41,500||$48,080||$55,320|
Continuing Education & Related Degrees
As with most careers involving certification or licensing, medical administrative assistants are required to renew their credentials by completing additional education. The American Association of Medical Assistants requires working assistants to complete 60 continuing education points in a three-year period to remain certified. But there are other significant reasons to continue your education. Perhaps you want to add an undergraduate degree to create more healthcare opportunities that offer higher wages. Or you can pivot from assisting directly into another branch of healthcare. Many schools offer credit for your previous college courses, shortening your time to complete the program. If you’re already working as an assistant, online allied health programs allow you to tailor your schooling around your daily commitments. Here’s a look at a few of the degree options that may be a good fit, even if you’re still in your MAA program:
Medical administrative assistants often find themselves called to the nursing profession. With the two-year Online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you can complete your coursework from the location of your choice, but typically must attend clinical labs at a designated location. The programs take from 2 to 3 years to complete. Some employers seek graduates of four-year baccalaureate nursing programs, but a registered or licensed ADN can find ample opportunities at hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. You must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Graduates from a two-year associate program in health science are prepared to serve in a variety of roles in healthcare assisting in specialties including patient care, health information management, insurance, and patient communication. Students increase their core knowledge in the health sector, including the fields of compliance, human resources, licensing, and community health. The degree might be suited for people changing fields or licensed practical or vocational nurses who want to complete a non-nursing degree in the business of healthcare.
Medical assisting certificate programs are designed for those who want to help in the examination room in concert with the physician. It is not a front-office specialty. It takes about a year to finish these programs that are offered at community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates of accredited online programs can sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association.
The online certificate programs are designed specifically for MAA’s who want to focus on the business side of healthcare. They take approximately 10 months to complete. Students are prepared to work with invoicing, coding for medical procedures, and insurance claims. Upon completion of the program, graduates can take the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) or Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam from the American Association of Professional Coders.