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    Ranking the Best Online Medical Assistant Programs

    Review the best online medical assistant schools and programs in 2024, get details on accreditation, and read about financing options for your training needs. Take the first step toward your medical assistant degree today.

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    Author: Shannon Lee
    Alexander-Belkin
    Reviewer:

    Alexander Belkin

    Alexander Belkin is an experienced medical assistant who completed medical school and now works as a physician. During medical school he developed an interest in hematology and oncology. During his free time, Alex enjoys reading books, watching movies and tv shows, and going to concerts.

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    Medical Assistant Programs

    Medical assistants perform both clinical and clerical duties in a wide range of healthcare settings. On the clerical side, they record patient histories, schedule appointments, and enter patient data into automated systems. On the clinical side, they give injections, measure vitals, and prepare specimens for laboratory tests.

    In May of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $35,850 for medical assistants. The top 10% of professionals in the field earn $50,580. The BLS also reported an estimated 19% growth in medical assistant job openings between 2019 and 2029, much faster than average.

    The path to becoming a medical assistant can be as short as a few weeks, with more rigorous programs running between 18 months and two years. Online learning has made the process even more convenient. Online medical assistant programs use a variety of distance learning tools to manage and delivery academic coursework. In asynchronous programs, students can finish their coursework when and where it’s most convenient.

    If an online medical assistant program could be right for you, check out EduMed’s list of the best schools for 2024.

    or
    About the ranking

    X

    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Herzing University-MadisonMadison, WIPrivate not-for-profit$$2

    There are two pathways to become a medical assistant at Herzing University. You can opt for a diploma that takes approximately 10 months to complete, or you can choose to pursue an associate degree which will take closer to 20 months to finish. For both options, classes are delivered online and the clinical training and externships are held in-person. Whichever path you choose, Herzing University will accept up to 45 transfer credits from any previous college education you've received.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Services

    • Credits: 24-60
    • Length: 10-20 months
    • Cost: $464/credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: HLC
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    99%
    2Rasmussen University-North DakotaFargo, NDPrivate for-profit$$2

    The medical assisting diploma at Rasmussen University takes as little as 12 months to complete and is delivered in a hybrid format. Students will take classes both online and on campus, with an externship required during students' final quarters in the program. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take either the CMA or RMA, with the cost of the first exam attempt included in tuition. Students will also be qualified for certifications through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) to make themselves more marketable.

    Program Highlights:

    Medical Assisting Diploma

    • Credits: 51
    • Length: 12+ months
    • Cost: $279/credit
    • Mode: Hybrid
    • Accreditation: ABHES (at select campuses)
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    91%
    3American National University-PikevillePikeville, KYPrivate for-profit$$2

    American National University offers a completely online medical assisting associate degree that will teach students how to take patient vital signs, collect lab specimens, perform routine tests, and administer injections and immunizations. Online students can participate in clinical lab practices by using the school's at-home lab kits. Labs will be conducted through synchronous videos, and coursework will be done asynchronously on the student's own time. In the final semester, students will put their knowledge into practice by completing the program's required 162-hour externship.

    Program Highlights:

    Medical Assisting Associate Degree

    • Credits: 96
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $26,208 total
    • Mode: Online or Hybrid
    • Accreditation: CAAHEP (in residence programs only), DEAC (online programs)
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    100%
    4Herzing University-KenoshaKenosha, WIPrivate not-for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    15/1
    Online
    Student %
    79%
    5Herzing University-BrookfieldBrookfield, WIPrivate not-for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    13/1
    Online
    Student %
    76%
    6Mercy College of Health SciencesDes Moines, IAPrivate not-for-profit$$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    9/1
    Online
    Student %
    81%
    7Herzing University-AkronAkron, OHPrivate not-for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    12/1
    Online
    Student %
    77%
    8American National UniversitySalem, VAPrivate for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    40/1
    Online
    Student %
    100%
    9Herzing University-BirminghamBirmingham, ALPrivate not-for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    49%
    10Hussian College-Daymar College ClarksvilleClarksville, TNPrivate for-profit$$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    20/1
    Online
    Student %
    99%
    11University of ProvidenceGreat Falls, MTPrivate not-for-profit$$$$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    8/1
    Online
    Student %
    100%
    12Herzing University-OrlandoWinter Park, FLPrivate not-for-profit$$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    15/1
    Online
    Student %
    43%
    13Spokane Community CollegeSpokane, WAPublic$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    50%
    14Remington College-KnoxvilleKnoxville, TNPrivate not-for-profit$$$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    20/1
    Online
    Student %
    95%
    15Purdue University GlobalWest Lafayette, INPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    27/1
    Online
    Student %
    100%
    16Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FLPrivate not-for-profit$$$$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    50%
    or
    About the ranking

    X

    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Central Community CollegeGrand Island, NEPublic$2

    Central Community College's medical assisting program offers both hands-on, skills-based courses and supplemental online courses to teach the necessary skills for an Associate of Science degree as well as an Administrative Medical Office certificate. All online courses are asynchronous. Graduates are prepared to take the American Association of Medical Assistance certification exam. Applicants need a high-school diploma or equivalent and must pass a background check before being admitted.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate of Science in Medical Assisting

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $112-$160 per credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    15/1
    Online
    Student %
    72%
    2Panola CollegeCarthage, TXPublic$2

    Panola College offers both a Medical Assistant Certification program and an Associate of Science in medical assisting. Both programs allow graduates to test for CMAA, CCMA, and CPT certifications. The medical assistant program is a hybrid of online and traditional classes with on-campus classes offered once daily. This program has significant hands-on learning, including clinical experience. Students need a background check before being admitted to the MA program.

    Program Highlights:

    Associates of Science in Medical Assisting

    • Credits: 42-60
    • Length: 3-5 semesters
    • Cost: $990 per semester plus fees
    • Mode: Hybrid
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    72%
    3Cerritos CollegeNorwalk, CAPublic$2

    Cerritos College offers both an Associate of Arts in Medical Assisting and a Medical Assistant Certificate of Achievement. The certificate takes two semesters, and the associate degree takes four. The associate degree includes the certificate, electives, and general education courses. Some classes may be available online, though most are on campus. This program requires students to have adequate analytical and communication skills as well as the ability to stand/walk continuously and lift/move heavy things.

    Program Highlights:

    Associates of Arts in Medical Assisting

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 4 semesters
    • Cost: $46 per credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    26/1
    Online
    Student %
    78%
    4Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell CampusRoswell, NMPublic$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    71%
    5Highland Community CollegeHighland, KSPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    15/1
    Online
    Student %
    52%
    6Northwood Technical CollegeShell Lake, WIPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    7/1
    Online
    Student %
    73%
    7Lakeshore Technical CollegeCleveland, WIPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    11/1
    Online
    Student %
    66%
    8West Virginia Junior College-MorgantownMorgantown, WVPrivate for-profit$$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    81%
    9Missouri State University-West PlainsWest Plains, MOPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    13/1
    Online
    Student %
    62%
    10Southwestern Community CollegeSylva, NCPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    11/1
    Online
    Student %
    62%
    11South Piedmont Community CollegePolkton, NCPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    13/1
    Online
    Student %
    76%
    12Somerset Community CollegeSomerset, KYPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    65%
    13Cerro Coso Community CollegeRidgecrest, CAPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    22/1
    Online
    Student %
    80%
    14Western Texas CollegeSnyder, TXPublic$2Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    20/1
    Online
    Student %
    26%
    15Southwest Wisconsin Technical CollegeFennimore, WIPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    35%
    16Lake Area Technical CollegeWatertown, SDPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    44%
    17Northeast Wisconsin Technical CollegeGreen Bay, WIPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    15/1
    Online
    Student %
    41%
    18Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical CollegeCumberland, KYPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    50%
    19Mt Hood Community CollegeGresham, ORPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    40%
    20Oklahoma City Community CollegeOklahoma City, OKPublic$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    21/1
    Online
    Student %
    6%
    21ETI Technical CollegeNiles, OHPrivate for-profit$$1Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    8/1
    Online
    Student %
    2%

    Why Online School for Medical Assisting?

    There was a time when earning higher education meant sacrificing work and family obligations to sit in a classroom. But with online learning, students can get the education they need without uprooting their family, changing their schedule, or taking time off work. And there are a ton of valuable online and school support resources for medical assistant students that can help you along the way. Here’s more on why online education for medical assisting might be right for you.

    Online learning allows earning a certificate, diploma, or degree on a more reasonable timetable, which is great for those who have full-time jobs (or even part-time jobs!), family obligations and the like. Medical assistant programs teach a great deal of information that can be conveyed through online courses, thus making it one of the best options for those who want to work in the allied health field but don’t have the time to visit a campus multiple times per week.

    The relatively short nature of medical assistant programs online makes them affordable by nature. Instead of paying for 2 to 4 years for an associate or bachelor’s degree, some programs can be completed in as few as 3 months. Learning online can also take commuting, parking, and similar costs out of the equation, allowing you to focus your costs on the coursework and fieldwork exclusively.

    Explore today’s most affordable online medical assistant programs.

    In online medical assisting programs, students learn only what they need to enter the workforce with confidence. This focus on the most important knowledge and skills is why so many programs can be completed within months. Even after accounting for the time it takes to complete a certification exam and find a job, students might be looking at a total of one year from the start of the program to getting comfortable in their new profession.

    Find Online Medical Assistant Programs in Your Area

    Are you looking to enroll in an online medical assistant program near you? We have the information you need. Use one of the guides below to find top programs in your area.

    Types of Online Medical Assistant Programs

    There are three primary types of medical assisting programs, all of which can be taken mostly or partially online: the certificate, diploma, and the associate degree. How do you know which one to choose? That depends on a few factors, including your desired career trajectory. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the three types of online medical assistant programs available today.

    Certificate

    In most cases, certificates are the fastest way to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to move directly into the workforce upon graduation. Certificates can be completed in one year or less, and some programs require only a few months of study. However, they usually require an externship, which can add some time to the pursuit of the certificate. Certificates can often be earned through community colleges; if the program is accredited, students will be able to sit for a variety of exams to earn medical assisting certification.

    Diploma

    The diploma is often considered interchangeable with the certificate, but there are some subtle differences. Diploma programs tend to be offered through hospitals or clinics, and provide more hands-on clinical experience than certificate programs. Since many diploma tracks are hands-on right from the start, students might not have to participate in an externship or similar clinical component. It’s important to remember that those who graduate with a diploma or certificate, even if they go on to obtain certification, might not see as high of a starting salary as those who earn the associate degree.

    Associate degree

    These degrees typically take two years to complete, and are usually found at community colleges. The longer time period means students not only take courses in medical assisting, but in general education, as well. The result is that they can enter the workforce upon graduation or use their associate degree as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree, which might allow them to move into more advanced medical positions. The associate degree also offers the possibility of making a higher starting salary, as well as an edge over other applicants who have less education.

    What You’ll Learn: Key Knowledge & Skills

    When you take medical assisting courses, the knowledge you obtain is often applied directly to the job. That’s why each course in a program is vitally important. Since medical assistants are expected to hit the ground running when they start a new job, it’s critical to garner the knowledge and skills necessary through each course. Here are a few of the courses you can expect to take and why they matter so much.

    Medical Front Office: Medical assistants handle a variety of tasks, including billing, scheduling, and other duties in the front office. Understanding how the front office works is the first step toward a smoother experience for patients.

    Medical Records: Keeping up with medical records makes a tremendous difference, and the job often falls to the medical assistant. This course teaches students all they need to know to handle the electronic health records for a typical medical office.

    Anatomy: Students might take several anatomy courses, all designed to give them a firm understanding of the human body and how the systems work together during times of health and illness. Knowing the basics can help graduates enter the workforce prepared.

    Insurance and Billing: When dealing with front office tasks, medical assistants will often have to know the ins and outs of medical insurance, billing practices, and coding. Several courses might be devoted to this subject, although many of the detailed tasks may be reserved for certified medical billers and coders.

    Patient Examinations: Knowing how to handle a patient examination, from welcoming the patient to checking the vital signs to assisting the physician or nurse, are all important aspects of the job. Other courses might also relate to this one, such as courses in nutrition, vital signs, and common diseases.

    Other courses might include phlebotomy, ethical and legal issues, a variety of laboratory tests, safety in the medical office, medical equipment and supplies, psychology, and administering medication.

    How Much Does an Online Medical Assistant Program Cost?

    The cost of medical assistant programs varies widely. Some programs charge by the credit hour, while others charge for the entire program from start to finish in one lump sum – this is especially true when the program is short and will be completed within the span of a typical college semester. For instance, our spotlight schools on this page range from $2,599 to $17,900 for their medical assistant programs.

    Before applying to a school, take the time during your admissions process to look at all of the different costs you might incur during the program, a lot of which can be considered “hidden” costs like commuting and food.

    To learn how you can finance your education, and for even more detail on cost, please visit our page on financial aid for online medical assistant programs.

    How Long Is Medical Assistant Training?

    The length of a medical assistant program depends upon the final outcome – whether you earn a certificate, diploma, or degree. Certificate and diploma programs usually take a year or less, with the certificate taking just a little less than the diploma. The associate degree often takes two years to complete, but might be finished faster if the student takes accelerated programs. To learn more about how long specific programs take to complete, check out the schools in our ranking list.

    • Does Accreditation Matter?

      Though many factors go into choosing the best online medical assisting program for you, accreditation might matter most of all. When a school or program earns accreditation, it means that school or program has been examined by an independent body and found to meet the rigorous standards of a quality education. In other words, accreditation ensures that your degree, diploma, or certificate teach you what you need to know.

      Why does this matter so much? First, it’s important to remember that federal financial aid is available only to accredited schools; attend a school without accreditation, and you will likely have to pay for it out of your own pocket. It also speaks to career advancement, as medical assistants must graduate from an accredited program in order to sit for the certification exam. And finally, employers will readily accept credentials from a person who has graduated from an accredited program, but maybe not from someone who attended a non-accredited institution.

      Medical assistant programs are accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). When learning more about a school, look for information on accreditation on the school’s website. If the accreditation is not stated there, look to one of the two agencies. If it’s still difficult to find information about accreditation, contact the school directly to get a solid answer.

    • Do I Need to Become Certified?

      In most states, certification is not a requirement. However, many employers prefer to hire those who have earned certification, as it proves that person has a strong working knowledge of all the things medical assistants need to know to begin their work. There are five certifications available for medical assistants:

      CMA

      The American Association of Medical Assistants provides the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential.

      RMA

      American Medical Technologists provides the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential.

      NCMA

      The National Center for Competency Testing offers the National Certified Medical Assistant option.

      CMAA

      The National Healthcareer Association is home to two options for medical assistants: The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

      In most cases, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older to sit for an exam. They must have also completed certain guidelines, such as graduating from an accredited program or obtaining a certain amount of work experience. For more information, visit our page dedication to medical assistant certification online.

    Financing Your Online Medical Assistant Program

    Students who attend accredited medical assisting programs might be eligible for federal financial aid in the form of grants and loans. Grants are financial aid awards (often provided to those who demonstrate financial need) that do not have to be paid back. Student loans are often available for those who don’t receive enough grant money to cover their educational expenses. Loans can be subsidized, meaning the student will not pay interest until they are out of school, or unsubsidized, meaning that interest begins accruing immediately.

    They might also be eligible for a variety of scholarships specifically designed for those in medical assisting or the allied health field in general. Scholarships, like grants, do not have to be paid back. However, sometimes scholarships can be quite competitive. For more info, read our full page on scholarships and financial aid options for medical assistants