The early bird gets the worm. Or in your case, the job. The faster you earn your medical assistant certificate or degree, the faster you can pass your exams and get hired by a hospital or physician’s office. But how fast is too fast for a degree? The fastest online medical assistant programs claim you can finish them in six weeks, but most accelerated programs with proper regional accreditation take between 6 months and two years to complete. Here we take a look at today’s fast-track medical assistant programs offered via distance learning and investigate whether or not their quick timelines could mean lower quality education.
The 6 Week Medical Assistant Program Online
Owing to the unique blend of administrative and clinical responsibilities performed by medical assistants, six-week programs are incredibly rare. The best online medical assistant programs cover essential topics spanning human anatomy to medical records management. Additionally, stand-out programs typically require you to spend many hours completing both clinical requirements and an internship in a professional medical environment.
You may find the occasional program advertising a medical assistant degree online in 6 weeks, but be mindful that some schools prioritize quick profits over quality education and career training. Make sure you do your research, talk to admissions counselors, and check for the program’s accreditation. Remember, if a program isn’t accredited you may not be able to sit for certification exams.
Consider your academic and professional needs before you commit to a program offering a medical assistant degree online in 6 weeks. If you want to start a medical assistant job quickly, a short, less-intensive program may be the best fit. Conversely, if this is just the start of your medical career, a program offering transferrable college credits could be a better fit.
We spotlight four online medical assistant programs below with completion timelines that span from 11 weeks to 18 months. Continue reading to see which type of program works best for you.
CareerStep: The 4-Month Medical Assistant Program
CareerStep’s online medical assistant program offers a flexible and accessible career training program that you can complete in just four months. Focusing on patient care and routine office procedures, students gain the practical knowledge they need to enter the medical field. Besides online coursework, you’ll earn 100 hours of hands-on experience in a clinical setting, all while preparing for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) examination.
Throughout CareerStep’s four-month program, you’ll complete nearly 500 hours of online training. Delivered asynchronously, you can meet your course requirements any time, and in any place. Classes use an intuitive learning framework that includes videos, training games, and interactive training simulations.
In addition to online coursework, students also complete a 100-hour clinical externship at an approved medical setting. This hands-on training offers the opportunity to gain clinical experience in a safe, supervised environment. The externship also acts as a practical introduction to administrative tasks in a medical office, including scheduling, medical records management, and medical ethics.
The CareerStep program prepares you for multiple medical assistant certifications, from CCMA exam prep to phlebotomy technician certification. Some of the program’s major strengths include:
- Expansive Curriculum
In just four months, you’ll get an overview of foundational healthcare science, delve into the essentials of patient care, and learn how to perform medical procedures. Additionally, you’ll learn the ins and outs of medical office administration.
- Experiential Learning
Alongside online classes, you gain critical hands-on training through a 100-hour clinical externship. Under the supervision of experienced professionals, you’ll put your learning into practice. From medical records management to patient care, this in-person experience prepares you for work in the medical field.
- Asynchronous Learning
For the busy working student, asynchronous learning allows you to complete coursework while keeping up with personal and professional obligations. CareerStep uses videos, interactive simulations, and training games to help you sharpen your medical assisting skills. Students access course content at any time, from any place.
- Educational Support
Students enrolled in CareerStep’s online medical assistant program have 24/7 access to professionals ready to answer any questions. This program offers one-on-one support through email, phone, and live chat.
- Medical Assistant Certifications
CareerStep prepares you for multiple medical assistant certifications, including Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, Certified EKG Technician, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician. These certifications increase your earning potential and expand your career options.
Herzing University’s 8-Month Medical Assisting Diploma
A private institution based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Herzing University offers a 100% online medical assisting program. In addition to this short-term diploma track, students can also earn associate and bachelor’s degrees through the school. Herzing’s Everywhere Classroom allows you to complete coursework wherever and whenever fits your needs. Plus, students choose between full-time and part-time classes for maximum flexibility.
Full-time students complete this online medical assisting diploma’s 24 credits in just eight months. The program is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Required core courses include medical terminology, administrative skills for the medical office, and introduction to anatomy and physiology.
In addition to online courses, this program requires in-person clinical experiences. Over eight months, you’ll finish two hands-on medical assisting classes and an externship. Completed at a convenient, approved medical setting, your externship involves 180 hours of experiential learning at a medical clinic or doctor’s office.
This online medical assisting track also includes preparation for your CCMA exam; the cost of your first exam is included in your tuition. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, applicants must meet and interview with an admissions advisor. Standout aspects of the program include:
- Regional and Programmatic Accreditation
Herzing’s online medical assisting diploma program boasts accreditation from HLC and CCNE. This means that you’re getting a quality education. Accrediting organizations make sure that schools and programs meet academic, professional, and administrative standards.
- Flexible Online Delivery
The majority of your coursework is completed online through Herzing’s Everywhere Classroom platform. You’ll take classes asynchronously, meaning that you satisfy course requirements at your own pace. Online learning is a convenient option for working students balancing professional, personal, and academic obligations.
- Hands-on Experience
Along with the typical online classes, Herzing requires that you complete two clinical labs and a 180-hour externship. These hands-on learning experiences provide vital medical training while ensuring that you can competently demonstrate medical assisting skills.
- CCMA Exam Prep
While this diploma offers essential academic knowledge and practical experience, passing the CCMA exam enhances your job options and earnings potential. In addition to preparing you for the exam, Herzing also pays for it.
- Transferrable Credits
Credits earned at Herzing are backed by HLC and CCNE accreditation. This academic stamp of approval means that you can transfer credits to associate degree and bachelor’s programs. This degree is a practical introduction to the medical field, but additional academic work can further boost your career options and increase your pay.
Camelot College’s 11-Week Medical Assistant Program Online
Founded in 1986, Camelot College offers medical education and career training through programs such as their online medical assistant, cosmetology, and nurse aide training courses. Designed to provide flexible, affordable, and accessible career training, Camelot provides students with essential classroom knowledge while utilizing the school’s relationships in the medical and business industries in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area.
Along with providing practical medical assistant training, Camelot prioritizes job placement. Camelot College is recognized as an accredited business through the South Central Better Business Bureau.
Offering two medical assistant training programs, students choose between Camelot’s administrative medical assistant and advanced medical assistant tracks. The administrative medical assistant training is delivered 100% online and introduces the skills essential to the day-to-day work that comprises the position. This 11-week program covers critical topics such as electronic medical records systems, telecommunications, and legal and ethical issues in the medical field.
Priced at around $5,000 for the 11-week program, students can quickly gain the skills they need to begin their careers in the medical field. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED and complete an administrative interview before admission. Differentiators for this program include:
- Completion in 11 Weeks
If you’re itching to gain the skills needed for administrative medical assisting quickly, this program is a practical option. In just 11 weeks students gain experience with medical records management, medical ethics, and general computer skills.
- 100% Online
Personal and work obligations often prevent students from enrolling in a higher education program. As this program is entirely online, students complete coursework at their own pace while managing a job and other responsibilities.
- Rooted in Practical Skills
Camelot College offers practical skills that you can quickly apply to administrative roles. Whether it’s basic computer skills or electronic medical records systems, this program focuses on the knowledge and abilities you’ll use in a professional setting.
- Job Placement
Camelot’s goal is to provide you with the skills so you can secure an administrative role in a medical setting. Founded to provide career training for unemployed and underemployed individuals, Camelot College emphasizes two things: educational excellence and job placement.
- Business Relationships
Dating back 35 years, Camelot College uses its business relationships and standing in the Baton Rouge area to help find you a job. This school has been recognized as an accredited business from the South Central Better Business Bureau since 1995.
Purdue University’s 18-Month Medical Assistant Certificate
With its home base in Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University takes a holistic approach to its medical assistant program, with students encountering clinical and laboratory work alongside medical office procedures. Taught by experienced healthcare professionals, students complete classes online and gain hands-on experiences in professional settings. You can complete Purdue’s online medical assistant certificate program in just 18 months.
Online classes cover a variety of essential topics involving medical office and clinical responsibilities. Core classes include diseases of the human body, medical office management, and professionalism in healthcare. In addition to completing two sections of a clinical competencies class, you’ll also tackle 50 hours of clinical training at an approved medical facility.
Before graduation, you’ll complete a 160-hour medical assisting externship. Once you finish Purdue’s medical assistant certificate track, you can sit for various certification exams, including Registered Medical Assistant, National Certified Medical Assistant, and Clinical Medical Assistant Certification.
The medical assistant certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. As an accredited program, credits earned for this certificate may apply to a bachelor’s degree in the future. As you compare programs, keep these components in mind:
- It’s Accredited
Not all medical assistant programs come with Purdue’s reputation for quality academics. A school boasting regional accreditation means that you’ll get your money’s worth. This program meets the academic, professional, and administrative standards set by regional and programmatic accrediting organizations.
- Career Advancement
Purdue’s Center for Career Advancement connects students with job and networking opportunities. Offering a wide range of career development tools, students get assistance with resumes, interview prep, and access to virtual career fairs. Career specialists can also help with general career guidance.
- Comprehensive Curriculum
Through online coursework, medical assistant students encounter both the clinical and administrative elements of this field. You’ll gain the clinical competencies and professionalism required for advancement. Classes span from pharmacology to medical coding and insurance.
Earning your medical assistant certification is a great way to enhance your career options. That said, if your certificate comes from a highly respected institution like Purdue University, that can only help your chances when applying for jobs.
- Variety of Certifications
When looking to advance your medical assisting career, professional certifications go a long way in building your credentials. Purdue’s online medical assistant program offers five certification exams through organizations like the American Medical Technologists, National Healthcare Association, and American Medical Certification Association.
Accreditation for Online Medical Assisting Programs
Even though completing a nonaccredited medical assisting program won’t necessarily prevent you from getting hired as a medical assistant, the best online programs boast accreditation. Additionally, professional certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) requires that you graduate from an accredited program. Alongside a solid resume and work experience, professional certification can boost your career options and increase your salary.
The primary accrediting bodies for online medical assisting programs include the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). In offering their stamp of approval to stand-out programs, these organizations consider student outcomes, graduation rates, curricula, and program administration, among other factors.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes ABHES programmatic accreditation for medical assistants, medical laboratory technicians, and surgical technology programs. Additionally, the CAAHEP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Accredited programs offer clinical and academic training in various areas, including diagnostic procedures, medication administration, and medical law and ethics. Additionally, students get practical training in computer applications, office practices, record-keeping, and accounting. Upon program completion, graduates can sit for the AAMA’s certified medical assistant exam.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
If you’re considering enrolling in an online medical assistant program, be sure to check out our comprehensive ranking. From professional certificate programs to associate degrees, these online programs provide students with flexible and affordable academic options that act as a practical entryway into the medical field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs with Financial Aid
Finding an online medical assistant program that fits your needs is just part of the process. While online programs are often relatively affordable, you’ll still need to figure out the best way to pay for your education. In addition to spotlighting medical assistant programs that offer financial aid, this page highlights other ways you can offset the cost of a medical assistant program.
Online Certification for Medical Assistants
Along with completing an online medical assistant program, you can access various online certifications that boost your resume and increase pay. This page outlines specialty medical certifications and takes a deep dive into the CMA certification exam, what’s on it, and various tips to help you ace the test.