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Best Online Medical Assistant Programs in Arizona

Medical assistants play a crucial role in the allied healthcare system in Arizona
and beyond. Learn about the best online programs in Arizona, the qualities that
make them great, and more.

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Landing a career that allows you to navigate the medical and administrative sides of patient care without breaking the bank or spending years in school might feel like a tall order, but Arizona’s online medical assistant programs can fill it.

A medical assistant works alongside physicians in both administrative and clinical capacities in settings like primary care offices, hospitals, and more. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that demand for medical assistants is red-hot; in fact, demand for medical assistants is set to rise 14% in the next decade–much faster than the national average of all professions. Moreover, Arizona is one of the top employers of medical assistants per capita in the United States, per the BLS, meaning your skills will be in demand in the state you call home.

So, what does it take to launch your medical assistant career and start taking advantage of these opportunities? We’ll walk you through every major milestone you’ll need to meet, starting with applying to and enrolling in a convenient, affordable online medical assistant program. Let’s get started by taking a look at some of the best online medical assistant programs available in Arizona today:

Spotlighting Top Medical Assistant Programs in Arizona

As you begin to research which online medical assistant program in Arizona may be right for you, a few programs will stand out from the pack. While the perfect program for you will depend on your unique wants and needs, we’ve highlighted a few particularly strong ones that combine rigorous academics with stand-out students support services to help you get started.

Arizona College

Arizona College offers a seven-month Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy diploma program accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) that students can complete online, in-person, or in a hybrid format. This program’s morning and evening class options, five-week course offerings, and financial aid options make it particularly accessible to students with busy schedules and other obligations. Unlike many similar programs, Arizona College does not require students to have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for acceptance.

Once enrolled, students learn the skills they need to begin careers as medical assistants or phlebotomists in Arizona. Hybrid students complete classes and lectures online but gain hands-on experience with in-person practical lessons, including lab-based courses which can be scheduled around their needs. Students can take advantage not only of professors’ office hours, but Arizona College’s peer support program. After graduation, students have access to career support resources, including job placement assistance.

Central Arizona College

Central Arizona College offers both an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and certificate program in Medical Assisting accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The time it takes students to complete the program depends on the track they choose. Your career history, educational background, and availability can help you determine which of the two tracks is right for you.

Students in both programs gain the skills they need to begin careers as entry-level medical assistants; in addition to the fundamentals of medical assisting, they take a variety of general education courses, including written and verbal communication. Students also gain a foundational understanding of medical law and ethics to prepare them to work with patients firsthand. Both degree and certificate candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to apply; financial aid may be available for qualifying students.

Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute offers a nine-month, in-person or hybrid, medical assistant certificate program. In this program, students learn both the clinical and administrative skills necessary to successfully enter the workforce as an entry-level medical assistant. Although Pima’s hybrid option is relatively new, it is designed to give students maximum possible flexibility, while also providing all the same student resources that would be available to fully on-campus students. These include resume writing assistance and career services, as well as student mental health services.

Pima has four different campuses across Arizona, and students choose the one that works best for them to complete the on-campus portions of their hybrid certificate studies, including hands-on clinical learning experiences. Financial aid may be available for qualifying students.

Must-Haves in Online Medical Assistant Programs in Arizona

You’ll find yourself considering many factors as you look at different online medical assistant programs in Arizona. While many of these considerations should be specific to you, there are a features we recommend you guarantee every program has before you apply. Take a look at the qualities that top our list and use it as a starting point as you continue to narrow down your options.

Accreditation

It is absolutely vital that you attend an accredited program. Accreditation at the postsecondary level is what makes your program legitimate and assures your future employers that you have the necessary skills to do the job. Check which third-party accreditation board accredited your program, to ensure that it meets necessary standards of academic rigor.

Certification Exam Eligibility

In Arizona, medical assistants must pass the CMA or RMA exam to earn certification. Although certification itself is not legally required, you will generally only be employable as a medical assistant once you’re certified, which is why it’s important to choose a program that is not only aware of the role of certification exams, but will actively work to prepare you to pass yours after graduation.

Faculty Qualifications

Arizona College is just one example of a school that highlights that their faculty are experienced in the healthcare field — and that’s important. Take a look at the faculty pages (and possibly the “About the Program” information page) on your potential school’s website to ensure that you’ll be taught by faculty who have both worked in the allied healthcare field, and successfully prepared their students to do the same.

Graduation and Certification Rates

Why do graduation rates matter? While you’re the only person that can control your performance in your program, higher graduation and certification rates are a good indicator of the quality of a program, its ability to support and prepare its students, and the standards to which it holds itself.

State-Specific Considerations

The Arizona Medical Board regulates medical assistants within the State of Arizona. Their website outlines the administrative code governing the definition and scope of practice of medical assistants. The most important thing to know is that as of right now, the Board does not require Arizona practitioners to be certified in order to practice. However, it would be wise to check in regularly to stay up to date on any changes to this law or for additional details.

Transferability

Many students consider a certificate or associate degree in medical assisting the first step in their allied healthcare careers, careers that often involve earning bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field. If you think you might be interested in pursuing further education after your medical assistant program, make sure that your credits will transfer, to save you time and money in your future degree program(s).

Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant in Arizona

Becoming a medical assistant in Arizona takes more than just completing an academic program; to maximize your career potential you will also need to become (and stay) certified. While the exact steps to becoming a medical assistant vary from state to state, here are some of the things you’ll need to do to start working as one in Arizona:

Complete a Clinical Externship

Unlike many states, Arizona does not require a clinical externship for licensure. However, many medical assistant programs offer hands-on experience which will not only come in handy for your certification exam, but also build your comfort and knowledge base for when you begin work.

Graduate From an Accredited Program

Arizona requires certified medical assistants to have graduated from either a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited program. There are other means to complete the education requirement (such as through training acquired in the military), but your online medical assistant program should meet the education requirements.

Pass the Certificate Exam

In Arizona, you’ll need to pass one of two exams to become a certified medical assistant–the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, or the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Whichever one you choose, you’ll need to register to take it, pay your exam fee, and study in the leadup to exam day, while taking advantage of the skills and knowledge you picked up in your program.

Renew Your License and Take Continuing Education Credits

To keep your certification in good standing, you will need to complete continuing education units (or be willing to re-sit your certification exam) as you work. The AAMA offers an overview of continuing education programs and recertification policies that you will need to review periodically to keep your certification up to date as you continue through your career.

Answering Your Questions About AZ Medical Assistant Programs Online

Still have some questions about your online medical assistant education in Arizona? We’ve got you covered. Have a look at some of the most commonly asked questions and our answers below. And remember, if you’re still unsure, or have something more specific you want to know, don’t hesitate to reach out to your prospective school and ask — that’s what they’re there for!

Are scholarships or grants available for online medical assistant students in AZ?

Whether or not you’ll be eligible for grants or scholarships will depend on your personal circumstances, especially since many scholarship programs, like the IHS Scholarships for Indigenous American students, only accept applicants from specific backgrounds or who meet particular criteria. Do your research and apply to as many scholarships as you’re eligible for through your school, the federal government, and the state.

Are there professional organizations or networking opportunities for Arizona medical assistants?

The American Association of Medical Assistants, or AAMA, is the largest professional organization for medical assistants in the country. In addition to providing certification exams, they extend benefits to members, from networking and volunteering opportunities to continuing education, and more.

Do I need to complete any prerequisites before applying?

Generally speaking, there are no prerequisites to complete before applying to an online medical assistant program in Arizona. These programs are designed for students at the entry level, as stated in Pima Medical Institute’s description of their program, so going in with no prior healthcare experience is not a problem.

How much should I expect to pay for my program?

Most schools charge tuition on a per-credit basis, or, like Arizona College, offer a tuition calculator, where you can estimate the price of your degree. Generally, an online medical assistant program in Arizona is less expensive than an associate or bachelor’s degree and typically ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 dollars. You can offset the price of your program by applying for financial aid.

What are the admission requirements for Arizona medical assistant programs?

The admissions requirements for online medical assistant programs in Arizona are fairly flexible, although they vary from school to school. While most programs, like the one at Central Arizona College, require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED, some, like the program at Arizona College, do not.

What does an online medical assistant curriculum in Arizona cover?

Your program’s curriculum will vary depending on the type of degree you pursue. An Associate of Applied Science in medical assisting will be more in-depth than a medical assistant certificate program. Central Arizona College offers tracks and provides degree maps indicating the difference. Regardless of the degree you pursue, you can feel confident your programs will prepare you with the clinical and administrative skills you need to pass your medical assistant certification exams and begin working.

Salary and Career Insights for Arizona Medical Assistants

Below we’ve provided both current and projected data for medical assistants’ job growth and salary prospects in Arizona. While the national projected growth rate for medical assistant jobs is much faster than average with an average of 18.4%, the growth rate in Arizona is exceptionally high, at 51.3%. After graduating your online medical assistant program, you can expect plenty of job opportunities and for those opportunities to only grow year over year.

While salaries in Arizona are fairly consistent across the state, medical assistants can expect to earn the most in the urban centers of the state, including Flagstaff, Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale. However, when considering your potential future earnings as an Arizona medical assistant, it’s also important to bear in mind that medical assistant salaries tend to be higher in the areas of the state with the highest costs of living.

Occupation NameNew Jobs (2020-2030)Job Growth Rate (2020-2030)Average Annual Openings (2020-2030)
United States853,50018.40%104,400
Arizona30,52051.3%3,970

Source: Projections Central

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Arizona$29,640$37,390$47,250
Flagstaff, AZ$30,080$37,660$47,470
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ$28,830$35,010$43,490
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ$29,990$37,600$47,560
Prescott, AZ$29,340$36,360$45,850
Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ$28,870$34,350$43,220
Tucson, AZ$29,210$36,290$45,630
Yuma, AZ$28,550$34,200$38,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics