Best Online Medical Assistant Schools & Programs for 2023

Review 2023’s best online medical assistant schools and programs, 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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Shannon Lee

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Shannon Lee has been a freelance writer, editor, and novelist for over 25 years. Her work has appeared on Fox Business, Forbes, MSN, Bob Vila, Modernize, Nashville Scene, MoneyGeek, MVP Parent, and many other outlets; her writing on home improvement led to an editorial position with The Spruce in 2021. She's written extensively on higher education, relationships, and the intersection of technology, health, and medicine. When she's not freelancing, Shannon also writes fiction novels.

Expert Contributor

Alexander-Belkin

Alexander Belkin

- Bio

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.

last updated

09/15/2022

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 months, 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 in 2023.

or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s 2023 Online College Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

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

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Rasmussen University-North DakotaFargo, ND Private for-profit $$ 2

Rasmussen University-North Dakota has medical assistant programs that can be completed in one year or less, allowing students to save time and money on their education because they're able to train and enter the workforce in a relatively quick manner. But that doesn't mean Rasmussen students aren't prepared when they get hired. After successfully completing the medical assistant program, graduates have an understanding of how to perform basic medical procedures, such as drawing blood, performing EKGs, and taking a patient's vital signs. In addition, students learn how to work as part of the medical team, and demonstrate abilities such as communication, critical thinking, and ethical skills that they'll need throughout their careers.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting Diploma

  • Credits: 51
  • Cost: $269/credit
  • Length: 1 year
  • Mode: partially online

Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate

  • Credits: 38
  • Cost: $269/credit
  • Length: 9 months
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
AccreditationHLC
2 Herzing University-BrookfieldBrookfield, WI Private not-for-profit $$$ 1

Herzing University-Brookfield’s online medical assistant programs are for students to get the theoretical instruction they need through online classes, and then gain practical experience through hands-on training provided at medical facilities. During their online classes, students learn about healthcare management, patient privacy, medical terminology, and insurance claims processing. In addition, students take general education classes, such as psychology, math, and humanities. To gain a better understanding of the concepts they learned online, students participate in an externship where they receive 180 hours of training on the administrative and clinical work they’ll be doing on the job.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 24
  • Cost: $12,640/entire program
  • Length: 10 months
  • Mode: partially online

Medical Assisting Associate Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost: $441/credit
  • Length: 20 months
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
AccreditationHLC
3 Herzing University-AtlantaAtlanta, GA Private not-for-profit $$$ 2

Students who enroll in Herzing University-Atlanta’s medical assistant programs have the opportunity to gain the preparation they need to work in the healthcare field while still providing the flexibility to juggle their studies with other responsibilities in their lives. The school is able to do this through a combination of online learning and hands-on training that is done during labs and externships. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Herzing University has a curriculum designed to help students earn their designation as a certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA), and the school will even pay for students to take the exam. Also, Herzing provides scholarships, loans, and grants to help students pay for their education.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 24
  • Cost: $12,640/entire program
  • Length: 10 months
  • Mode: partially online

Medical Assisting Associate Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost: $441/credit
  • Length: 20 months
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
AccreditationHLC
4 Herzing University-AkronAkron, OH Private not-for-profit $$$ 2

Prospective students who want to enroll in Herzing University-Akron’s medical assistant program are expected to have a high school diploma, or its equivalent, to be admitted. In addition, during the application process, people are required to participate in an interview with an admissions advisor. After being approved, students are given classroom instruction along with experiential learning to prepare them for their career. This includes clinical labs that help them hone their medical assisting skills and then a 180-hour externship where students work in a clinical setting for 25 to 40 hours per week to reinforce everything they've learned throughout the program.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 24
  • Cost: $12,640/entire program
  • Length: 10 months
  • Mode: partially online

Medical Assisting Associate Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost: $441/credit
  • Length: 20 months
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
AccreditationHLC
5 Herzing University-OrlandoWinter Park, FL Private not-for-profit $$$ 2

Medical assistants are an integral part of the healthcare profession who are charged with numerous tasks including administrative duties like scheduling patient appointments and answering phones. They are also responsible for vital clinical duties including administering medical tests, taking patients’ vital signs, and drawing blood. To train students for this important role, Herzing University-Orlando has medical assistant programs that combine theory with practice so students understand the underlying principles that guide the field, while getting hands-on training to perform specific tasks employers require. The program combines online learning with in-person training, so it's the best of both worlds for busy students.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 24
  • Cost: $12,640/entire program
  • Length: 10 months
  • Mode: partially online

Medical Assisting Associate Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost: $441/credit
  • Length: 20 months
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
AccreditationHLC
6 Herzing University-BirminghamBirmingham, AL Private not-for-profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
AccreditationHLC
7 Mercy College of Health SciencesDes Moines, IA Private not-for-profit $$$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
8/1
AccreditationHLC
8 Rasmussen University-FloridaOcala, FL Private for-profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
AccreditationHLC
9 Purdue University GlobalWest Lafayette, IN Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
28/1
AccreditationHLC
10 Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL Private not-for-profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
AccreditationSACSCOC
11 Rasmussen University-MinnesotaSt. Cloud, MN Private for-profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
AccreditationHLC
12 Rasmussen University-KansasTopeka, KS Private for-profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
AccreditationABHES
13 Eagle Gate College-LaytonLayton, UT Private for-profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
40/1
AccreditationABHES
or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s 2023 Online College Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

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

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Central Community CollegeGrand Island, NE Public $ 1

Central Community College offers an administrative medical office certificate that teaches students the knowledge and skills they need to work in the front office of a healthcare setting. This fully online program can be completed in less than one year, and during that time, students have the opportunity to learn different aspects of the medical assisting job, including the law and ethics that govern activities in a medical office, the responsibilities of medical assistants, and the nuts and bolts of doing daily work—from filling out forms to communicating with patients to performing basic clinical tests.

Program Highlights:

Administrative Medical Office Certificate

  • Credits: 12
  • Cost: $94/credit (in-state), $141 (out-of-state)
  • Length: 1 semester
  • Mode: fully online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
AccreditationHLC
2 Southwestern Community CollegeSylva, NC Public $ 1

Southwestern Community College prepares students in its medical assisting associate degree program to work in government health departments, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and health maintenance organizations. No matter where they decide to work after they complete their degree, students are equipped with the skills they need to land a job, including computing, laboratory, communication, coding, and ethical skills. Specific classes offered include medical terminology, exam room procedures, anatomy and physiology, administrative office procedures, and quantitative literacy. Students are able to complete this degree in about two years.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost: $86/credit (in-state), $278 (out-of-state)
  • Length: 2 years
  • Mode: fully online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
10/1
AccreditationSACSCOC
3 Lenoir Community CollegeKinston, NC Public $ 1

Students in the medical assisting associate degree program at Lenoir Community College take a combination of online classes with courses held on campus one night per week. Before being admitted into the program, students are expected to successfully complete prerequisite classes in math, reading, and English. Once they enroll in the program, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Medical Assisting Education Review Board, students learn about how medical assistants help doctors and nurses with procedures, as well as perform duties such as patient scheduling and billing and coding.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 74
  • Cost: $126.65/credit (in-state), $318.65 (out-of-state)
  • Length: 2 years
  • Mode: partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
AccreditationSACSCOC
4 West Virginia Junior College-MorgantownMorgantown, WV Private for-profit $$$ 1

West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown provides an online medical assistant associate degree program that not only gives students the training they need for their careers, but also leverages technology so they get all the benefits that traditional students have access to. To help online students succeed in the program, West Virginia Junior College provides tech support that can be accessed 24 hours a day, academic help, and career services. Students receive clinical training in EKGs, injections, phlebotomy, and laboratory skills such at performing in-clinic tests. In addition, students still enjoy a small classroom experience even though they're online.

Program Highlights:

Clinical Medical Assistant Associate Degree

  • Credits: 94/quarter credits
  • Cost: $3,995/entire program
  • Length: 18 months
  • Mode: Partially online
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
26/1
AccreditationABHES

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.

Flexibility

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.

Affordability

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.

Speed

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.

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.

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