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The Best Online Medical Assistant Schools & Programs in 2020

Review 2020’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.

Last Updated: 08/07/2020
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Alexander-Belkin
Alexander Belkin

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Alexander Belkin is an experienced medical assistant on his way to becoming a licensed physician. He has received a double major in neuroscience and biology from Brandeis University and is experienced in internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, and clinical pathology. When he’s not at the hospital, Alex works with the United States Medical Licensing Examination board creating study material and practice exams.

Online medical assistant programs give you the chance to earn your credential at your own pace. But with so many options out there, which one is right for you? The school with the most online course options? The program with the lowest cost? What about the one with the accreditation that employers look for? To help you narrow the field, EduMed.org has created its new Best in 2020 rankings. Using data from each school and from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we’ve researched, analyzed, and ranked the best online medical assistant programs from across the U.S. Specifically, we wanted to see who offers the best combination of online program availability, affordability, student services, and career placement. See who’s making the grade in 2020.

or
About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

#School NameTypeCostOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
1Southeast Community College AreaLincoln, NEPublic$1

SCC’s Medical Assisting diploma program prepares graduates for entry-level employment as a medical assistant in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Some coursework can be completed online but most courses will require attendance on SCC’s Lincoln campus. Additionally, students must complete a 225-hour practicum in ambulatory health, typically in a physician’s office in the Lincoln area. Students in the program sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential prior to graduation. An optional course is available that helps qualify students in obtaining their Nebraska Radiographer License. New students are admitted at the beginning of each term and the entire program can be completed in a minimum of three terms. Both full-time and part-time study options are available.

Program Overview:

Medical Assisting - Diploma

  • Credits: 35
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $108/credit (Nebraska resident); $129/credit (out-of-state resident)
  • Mode: Some courses offered online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (school); Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission (HLC) (school); Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) (program)
2Houston Community CollegeHouston, TXPublic$2

HCC offers three options for students interested in a medical assistant career. HCC’s 24-credit hour Medical Assistant – Medical Scribe Certificate Level 1 program prepares students for jobs in which they enter information into electronic medical records systems at the direction of a physician or other healthcare practitioner. The Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health with Medical Assistant Specialization degree program provides prospective and current healthcare professionals the knowledge and skills needed to both enter the medical assistant job market and to move from entry-level jobs into more advanced clinical positions. This 60-credit program consists of four semesters of coursework in general healthcare and major-specific medical assistant subjects, culminating in an in-person (practicum or field experience) capstone project. This is followed by a fifth semester of general education courses. HCC additionally offers a four-semester Medical Assistant – Specialization – Certificate Level 2 program with a curriculum that consists of the same major-specific coursework as the AAS degree minus the general education course requirements.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assistant – Medical Scribe Certificate Level 1/Hybrid Option

  • Credits: 24
  • Length: 6 months
  • Cost: $1,830.00 (total est. cost, in-district); $4,134 (total est. cost, out-of-district)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)

Medical Assistant – Specialization – Certificate Level 2

  • Credits: 43
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $3,306.50 (total est. cost, in-district); $7,434.50 (total est. cost, out-of-district)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)

Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health with Medical Assistant Specialization

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $4,584 (total est. cost, in-district); $10,344 (total est. cost, out-of-district)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
7%
AccreditationSACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)
3Northeast Wisconsin Technical CollegeGreen Bay, WIPublic$1

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Medical Assistant Technical Diploma prepares graduates for entry-level MA clinical and administrative positions in doctor’s offices and other facilities where patients are treated, as well as medical labs, medical records departments, and with insurance providers.

The program is available in an 18-month (four semesters, including one in the summer) format that combines online and weekend on-campus coursework with an in-person full-time 184-hour clinical practicum at an approved physician’s office or other healthcare facility. Graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam. Additionally, graduates who earn their CMA or RMA certification and complete 3000 hours in a professional MA position may apply for NWTC’s Medical Assistant to Practical Nursing bridge program.

Program Overview:

Medical Assistant Technical Diploma

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 18 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $5,000 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
12%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission (school); CAAHEP (program)
4Cerro Coso Community CollegeRidgecrest, CAPublic$1

Cerro Coso Community College offers three programs that feature substantial online coursework. The partially-online Associate of Science – Medical Assistant degree requires two years of full-time study and consists of general education and medical assistant core and either administrative medical assisting or clinical medical assisting coursework. The AS program is available through the Kern River Valley and Ridgecrest/IWV campuses. The Administrative Medical Assisting Certificate program requires completion of 20.5 credits of core and administrative medical assisting courses, all of which are available entirely online. Cerro Coso’s 20.5-credit Clinical Medical Assisting Certificate can be completed partially online, with required on-campus classes taken on the Ridgecrest/IWV campus. All three programs include an in-person externship that is completed in a physician’s office or clinic providing patient care.

Program Overviews:

AS Medical Assistant

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $6,360 CA (resident); $20,100 (out-of-state resident) (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC (school); CCBMA (program authorization)

Administrative Medical Assisting Certificate

  • Credits: 20.5
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $2,173 CA (resident); $6,868 (out-of-state resident) (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC) (school); CCBMA (program authorization)

Clinical Medical Assisting Certificate

  • Credits: 20.5
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $2,173 CA resident, $6,868 out-of-state resident (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC (school); CCBMA (program authorization)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationAccrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC) (school); CCBMA (program authorization)
5SUNY Broome Community CollegeBinghamton, NYPublic$$1

SUNY Broome Community College offers two medical assistant credentials that feature some coursework that can be completed online. The Associate of Applied Science Medical Assistant degree program prepares both students interested in immediately starting their careers after graduation and students planning to transfer on to a bachelor’s program in a medical assisting or related field. The 64-credit program requires two years (four semesters) of general education and major-specific coursework, and includes in-person practicums (16 total clinical hours) that can be completed in one of a variety of approved healthcare facilities. SUNY Broome’s Medical Administrative Skills Certificate program can be completed in one year (two semesters). All coursework for this certificate program is fully-transferable into the AAS Medical Assistant program.

Program Overviews:

AAS Medical Assistant

  • Credits: 64
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $9,888 (est. total cost) (New York state resident); $19,776 (est. total cost) (non-NY state resident)
  • Mode: Some courses offered online.
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CAAHEP (programs)

Medical Administrative Skills Certificate

  • Credits: 30-31
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $4,944 (est. total cost) (New York state resident); $9,888 (est. total cost) (non-NY state resident)
  • Mode: Some courses offered online.
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CAAHEP (programs)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
18%
AccreditationMSCHE (school); CAAHEP (programs)
6Carrington College-SacramentoSacramento, CAPrivate, For-ProfitN/A1

Carrington College offers a Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate of Achievement program that prepares students for entry-level positions in a wide variety of healthcare settings in which they perform job duties such as running the front desk, ordering supplies, sorting mail, taking calls, light bookkeeping, and more. Coursework focuses on topics that include medical terminology, anatomy, health insurance issues, law and ethics, medical coding and billing systems, scheduling, and business communication skills. The program is offered 100% online with no in-person clinical hours or externship requirements.

Program Overview:

Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate of Achievement

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 3 months
  • Cost: $14,895
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC/WASC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationACCJC/WASC
7Northeast Texas Community CollegeMount Pleasant, TXPublic$1

The Associate of Applied Science Medical Assistant degree from Northeast Texas Community College prepares graduates for entry-level MA positions in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains, as well as in both the clinical and administrative aspects of MA practice. This 60-credit hour program consists of 18 credits of general education (English, math, and the natural and behavioral sciences) and 42 credits of MA concentration coursework, with the total program designed to be completed with two years of full-time study. Some courses can be completed online while others require attendance on NTCC’s Mt. Pleasant campus. Coursework include six credits (nine clinical hours per week) of in-person work-based experience in an approved physician’s office or other healthcare facility.

Program Overview:

AAS Medical Assistant

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $127/credit hour (in-district); $189/credit hour (out-of-district); $384/credit hour (out-of-state).
  • Mode: Some courses offered online.
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
21%
AccreditationSACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)
8West Virginia Junior College-MorgantownMorgantown, WVPrivate, For-Profit$$$1

West Virginia Junior College offers a Clinical Medical Assistant Associate Degree and Medical Assisting Diploma, both of which feature online study. All coursework for both programs is completed entirely online with the exception of an on-campus (Charleston or Morgantown, West Virginia or Irwin, Pennsylvania) clinical experience (approximately 20 hours) and in-person externship (160 clinical hours) at a program-approved healthcare facility. MA students receive training in a range of patient-related medical procedures, as well as office management, insurance processing, electronic medical records, and the use of computers and computer software. Graduates qualify to sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam.

Program Overviews:

Clinical Medical Assistant Associate Degree

  • Credits: 94 quarter credits
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $26,850 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ABHES (school)

Medical Assisting Diploma

  • Credits: 62 quarter credits
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $17,900 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ABHES (school)

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
31%
AccreditationABHES (school)
9Blue Cliff CollegeAlexandria, LAPrivate, For-ProfitN/A1

Blue Cliff College offers two options for obtaining a medical assistant credential through partially-online study: the Clinical Medical Assistant diploma and the Clinical and Administrative Medical Assistant Associate of Occupational Studies degree. Both programs prepare students for entry-level MA positions in physician’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, and more. Both programs also feature online courses. However, students in both programs complete a substantial portion of their coursework on one of the college’s six campus locations: Alexandria, LA; Fayetteville, AR; Gulfport, MS; Houma, LA; Lafayette, LA; or Metairie, LA. Graduates of the associate degree program are eligible to sit for the Medical Assistant Certification exam.

Program Overviews:

Clinical Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 53
  • Length: 9 months (day classes); 15 months (night classes)
  • Cost: $15,881 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online.
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)

AOS Clinical and Administrative Medical Assistant

  • Credits:
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $33,671 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
Accreditation ACCSC (school)
10Community Care CollegeTulsa, OKPrivate, Not-for-ProfitN/A1

Community Care College offers its Medical Assistant Certificate program in a hybrid online/on-campus format. Most coursework is completed online. However, students are required to attend class in-person one night a week on CCC’s Tulsa campus. Students also complete 187 clinical hours in-person at an approved healthcare facility that offers patient care, typically in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. This 37-credit hour program can be completed in as little as nine months. Graduates of the hybrid program are not eligible to sit for the CMA certification, but may sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Program Overview:

Medical Assistant Certificate

  • Credits: 37
  • Length: 9 months
  • Cost: $18,337 (total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationACCSC
11Pinnacle Career Institute-South Kansas CityKansas City, MOPrivate, For-ProfitN/A1

Pinnacle Career Institute offers its Medical Assistant Certificate program to students interested in performing either lab work or administrative duties in a range of healthcare settings. The curriculum consists of eight 5-week long classes. Coursework is completed primarily online, with students required to attend a 12-day “boot camp” that combines on-campus course and lab work with a practicum/capstone experience at a Kansas City-area health services facility. Airfare, and room and board costs are included in the tuition price. The entire program can be completed in as little as 40 weeks of full-time study. Graduates of the program qualify for CCMA certification.

Program Overview:

Medical Assistant Certificate

  • Credits: 58.5
  • Length: 10 months
  • Cost: $21,424 (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
9%
AccreditationACCSC
12Daytona CollegeOrmond Beach, FLPrivate, For-ProfitN/A2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
13Mountain State CollegeParkersburg, WVPrivate, For-Profit$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
14Remington CollegeLittle Rock, ARPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
15ATA CollegeLouisville, KYPrivate, For-Profit$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
16Dawn Career Institute LLCWilmington, DEPrivate, For-ProfitN/A1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
17Kapiolani Community CollegeHonolulu, HIPublic$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
25%
AccreditationN/A
18Neosho County Community CollegeChanute, KSPublic$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
75%
AccreditationN/A
19Dakota College at BottineauBottineau, NDPublic$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationN/A
or
About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

#School NameTypeCostOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
1Rasmussen CollegeSt. Cloud, MNPrivate, For-Profit$$2

Rasmussen College’s Medical Assisting Diploma program prepares graduates to provide a range of patient-related services, such as performing routine diagnostic procedures, taking a patient’s vitals, and administering medications. This 51-credit hour program can be completed in as little as 12 months of full-time study. Rasmussen also offers a Healthcare Associate degree with Medical Assisting specialization, which requires completion of 91 credit hours of general education and major-specific coursework, and can be completed in as few as 18 months. Medical Assisting Diploma graduates may apply all coursework completed in that program toward their associate’s degree. Both the diploma and associate degree programs feature partially online coursework, and include a 200-clinical hour MA experiential externship.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assisting Diploma

  • Credits: 51
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $13,260 (est. total tuition)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC, ABHES (school)

Healthcare Associate’s Degree with Medical Assisting Specialization

  • Credits: 91
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $23,660 (est. total tuition)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC, ABHES (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
45%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission, ABHES (school)
2San Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco, CAPublic$$1

Through their College of Extended Learning, San Francisco State University offers two self-paced eLearning online certificate courses for individuals interested in working in the medical assistant field. The Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) certificate provides students with the skills needed to perform a range of clinical tasks, including performing routine patient examination and diagnostic procedures, taking and recording vital signs, ordering lab tests, and reviewing and administering medications. Graduates qualify to sit for the CCMA certification exam. SFSU’s Medical Administrative Assistant certificate prepares students for entry-level administrative positions in doctor’s offices, hospitals, health clinics, long-term care facilities, and more. Both courses feature asynchronous online coursework along with in-person clinical externship experiences (40 clinical hours for Medical Administrative Assistant certificate, 160 clinical hours for the CMA certificate).

Program Overviews:

Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) Certificate

  • Credits: 140 hours/14 CEUs
  • Length: Self-paced (six months of program access)
  • Cost: $2,599 (total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: WASC

Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate

  • Credits: 5 hours/5 CEUs
  • Length: Self-paced (6 months of program access)
  • Cost: $1,399 (total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: WASC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationWASC
3Herzing UniversityMadison, WIPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$2

Herzing University offers both diploma and associate degree online options for students interested in careers as medical assistants that prepare graduates to perform both clinical and administrative functions in any number of professional health services settings. Coursework for both programs is completed primarily online. However, students are required to complete two clinical courses (requiring in-person meetings with a proctor at a healthcare facility) and a 180-clinical hour externship at an approved doctor’s office or medical clinic. Graduates of either program are eligible to sit for both the RMA and CCMA certification exams.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assistant Diploma

  • Credits: 34
  • Length: 10 months
  • Cost: $20,500 (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CAAHEP (program)

Medical Assistant Associate Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 16-20 months
  • Cost: $28,140 (est. total cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
25%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission (school); CAAHEP (program)
4Purdue University GlobalDavenport, IAPublic$$2

The Medical Assistant Certificate available through Purdue University Global provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out both administrative and clinical responsibilities. The curriculum consists of a blend of online and in-person clinical experiences (including an externship in an approved healthcare facility). Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for several professional certifications, including the CCMA, CMAC, NCMA, and RMA. In addition, graduates can apply credits earned in the certificate program to one of three Purdue health-related bachelor’s degree programs, which in turn can lead to pursuing a Purdue health-related master’s degree. Prospective certificate students can enroll in and try out online study for three weeks prior to making any tuition payments.

Program Overview:

Medical Assistant Certificate

  • Credits: 58
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $371/credit
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission (school); CAAHEP (program)
5Whatcom Community CollegeBellingham, WAPublic$1

Whatcom Community College offers two options for students interested in earning a medical assistant credential: Associate of Science in Medical Assisting and Medical Assisting Certificate. Both programs feature a combination of online and on-campus courses, as well as an in-person practicum in an ambulatory setting under the supervision of a medical professional. The curriculums for both programs are offered concurrently, with the MA coursework completed over five quarters (15 months) of full-time study. Associate degree students will take longer to complete their general education requirements. Graduates of both programs qualify to sit for the National Board exam for CMA certification.

Program Overviews:

AS in Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 90
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $14,400 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: WASC (school); CAAHEP (program)

Medical Assisting Certificate

  • Credits: 66
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $10,800 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: WASC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
20%
AccreditationWASC (school); CAAHEP (program)
6American National UniversitySalem, VAPrivate, For-Profit$$2

American National University is home to two programs for those interested in careers as medical assistants. ANU’s Medical Assisting Certificate program provides students with basic clinical and administrative skills needed for entry-level employment in a range of healthcare settings. Students interested in adding a general education component to their studies can opt for ANU’s Medical Assisting Associate Degree. Both programs combine day, evening, and online classes, and include an in-person 160-clinical hour externship. Day and evening classes are offered on ANU campuses in Roanoke Valley, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and in Louisville and Pikeville, Virginia. Graduates of both programs are eligible to sit for the exams for the CMA and RMA certifications.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assisting Certificate

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 10 months
  • Cost: $23,646 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: DEAC, ABHES (school); CAAHEP (program)

Medical Assisting Associate Degree

  • Credits: 96
  • Length: 20 months
  • Cost: $46,742 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: DEAC, ABHES (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationDEAC, ABHES (school); CAAHEP (program)
7Daymar CollegeNashville, TNPrivate, For-Profit$$2

Daymar College offers two online options for students interested in working specifically in the administrative area of the medical assisting field: the Medical Assisting Administrative Diploma and Medical Assisting Administrative Associate of Applied Science Degree. Both programs provide graduates with the skills needed to carry out administrative duties and tasks, including medical records and billing, medical dictation, office management, and more. In addition Daymar offers both Medical Assisting Diploma and Associate of Science degree programs, each of which features online coursework. Medical assisting program graduates are prepared for entry-level positions handling clinical tasks such as taking patient vital signs, filling out patient records, and carrying out basic medical tests and procedures.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assisting Administrative Diploma

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost:
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)

AAS Medical Assisting – Administrative

  • Credits: 92
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost:
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)

Medical Assisting Diploma

  • Credits: 64
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost:
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)

AS Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 96
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost:
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
81%
AccreditationACCSC (school)
8Keiser UniversityFort Lauderdale, FLPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$1

Keiser University offers an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science degree that prepares graduates for both clinical and administrative duties in a wide range of medical and health services settings. Didactic general education and MA coursework is completed primarily online. However, students are required to complete both a preceptorship (10 hours per week for two months) and externship (40 per week for one month) in an approved doctor’s office or medical clinic. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the RMA examination. The program requires completion of a total of 60 credit hours, but previously-earned credit hours may be transferred in upon KU approval.

Program Overview:

AS in Medical Assisting Science

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $44,550 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationSACSCOC (school)
9San Joaquin Valley CollegeVisalia, CAPrivate, For-ProfitN/A2

San Joaquin Valley College currently offers two online options for students interested in careers in as medical assistants: AS degree in Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting and Certificate of Completion in Medical Assisting. Both programs feature didactic coursework that is completed 100% online. Following completion of the didactic MA coursework, students in both programs additionally complete a six-week in-person externship in a patient care practice setting. The MA coursework and externship requirements are identical for both the AS degree and certificate programs, with AS students completing an additional 30 credit hours of general education courses. Graduates of both programs qualify to sit for the NCMA certification exam administered by the National Center for Competency Testing.

Program Overviews:

Associate of Science in Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $30,000 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC/WASC (school)

Certificate of Completion in Clinical Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 9 months
  • Cost: $18,526 (est. total program cost)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC/WASC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
3%
AccreditationACCJC/WASC (school)
10Florida Technical CollegeOrlando, FLPrivate, For-ProfitN/A2

FTC’s Medical Assistant Technician (MAT) diploma combines knowledge learned in the classroom with practical skills gained in a supervised clinical practice setting, leading to entry-level employment as a professional medical assistant technician. The program’s curriculum is presented in a blended format that includes online didactic coursework with on-campus practice/lab classes completed on one of six FTC campuses located throughout Florida. Students additionally complete a 160-clinical hour externship at an approved health care facility. Graduates qualify to sit for the NCMA certification exam. MAT diploma holders have the option of continuing on to FTC’s Bachelor’s degree in Allied Health Management, with transferred in diploma credits reducing the bachelor’s program completion time from 36 to 28 months.

Program Overviews:

Medical Assistant Technician Diploma

  • Credits: 51.5 quarter credits
  • Length: 11 months
  • Cost: $16,964
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationMSCHE (school)
11Independence UniversitySalt Lake City, UTPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$1

The Associate of Occupational Studies in Medical Assisting degree from Independence University provides students with the knowledge and skills required to carry out both administrative and clinical medical assistant tasks in medical offices, hospitals, surgical centers, health clinics, and other settings where patients receive medical care. The curriculum leans heavily toward fundamental medical/healthcare and MA-specific coursework, with only three general education classes required. Topics covered include clinical processes and procedures, medical billing and coding, medical records taking, phlebotomy, and more. Didactic coursework is completed online. Students are additionally required to complete 160 clinical hours of training in an in-person externship.

Program Overview:

Associate in Medical Assisting

  • Credits: 95
  • Length: 19 months
  • Cost: $42,940
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: ACCSC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
15%
AccreditationACCSC
12Bryan UniversitySpringfield, MOPrivate, For-Profit$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationN/A
13The College of Health Care ProfessionsHouston, TXPrivate, For-ProfitN/A1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
20%
AccreditationN/A
14Fisher CollegeBoston, MAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
84%
AccreditationN/A

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. 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.

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

Career Outlook for Medical Assistants

The career outlook for medical assistants is incredibly bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 29% employment growth rate from 2016-2026. To break that down a little more, the percentage translates to almost 184,000 new job openings for medical assistants across the United States. Many factors are driving the growth of medical assistant positions. Perhaps the biggest factor is an aging population; as U.S. residents get older, they require more medical care, which means busier clinics, hospitals, and private practices. Primary care in particular has a high demand for medical assistants as these practices grow to meet the influx of new patients. Though medical assistants will be needed everywhere, it’s important to remember that certification can increase your chances of getting hired, as can a strong familiarity with electronic health records.

Working as a medical assistant, you also get a thorough look at how medical offices work, as well as a peek into the jobs of others with similar positions. Medical assistants might choose to work for a while to hone their skills, and then build on their knowledge by taking more college courses – eventually moving into careers such as nursing. They might also have an opportunity to move into leadership positions, especially in a practice that might have numerous offices and a large staff to manage.

Medical Assistant Salaries

A medical assistant’s salary depends upon several factors, including the level of experience they have, whether they completed a medical assisting program (and whether it resulted in a certificate, diploma or associate degree), and the area in which a person chooses to work. The following table provides some pertinent information on medical assisting salaries.

Percentile
Hourly Wage
Annual Wage
10%
$11.46
$23,830
25%
$13.26
$27,580
50%
$15.61
$32,480
75%
$18.43
$38,340
90%
$22.07
$45,900

All numbers from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics