The medical assisting profession isn’t as illustrious as that of a doctor or nurse practitioner. Medical assistants float in and out of rooms, making light conversation, helping patients feel at ease, as they take histories and vitals. They sit behind desks, inputting information into the computer and quietly performing the small acts that create the sturdy foundation on which all healthcare stands.
Unsurprisingly, the need for medical assistants is growing, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating an increase in available jobs of 14% by the year 2032 — a much faster-than-average growth rate. To take advantage of the growing number of opportunities available, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with top programs, certification requirements, and your earning potential. We’ve created this guide to online medical assistant program in Georgia to help you do just that. Keep reading if you’re ready to take your first step to becoming the face (and backbone) of the allied healthcare field in GA.
Profiling Top-Tier Georgia Programs
Before we break them down into their essential features and notable requirements, we want to provide you with a birds-eye view of online medical assistant programs in Georgia. The schools we’ve spotlighted below illustrate how these programs work, what you can expect to learn, and what requirements you must meet to earn your medical assisting diploma.
South College offers an online Certificate in Medical Assisting program that prepares its students to work in various healthcare settings. To graduate, students must complete 53 credits of online didactic coursework and on-campus laboratory training, as well as and on-the-job practicum experience. Because the program is CAAHEP-accredited, students are eligible to apply for certification as Certified Medical Assistants through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) as Registered Medical Assistants. Although earning these certifications is not required in Georgia, both give students a leg-up in their job search and careers following graduation.
South College’s curriculum prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need to perform administrative and clinical tasks, manage emergency situations, communicate effectively, and provide instruction to patients. In the last quarter of the program, students complete a 200-hour unpaid, supervised practicum at a local medical practice. Students must pass a physical exam/health verification and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid before they begin their practicum.
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University works with ed2go to provide an online Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) program that includes a voucher to cover the certification exam fee. Students do not have to log in at set times but must complete the course in 12 months. This self-paced online medical assistant program teaches students a broad range of skills that make them versatile and valuable employees, including medical terminology, medical law and ethics, HIPAA rules, scheduling systems, and the importance of medical assistants as members of a healthcare team. By graduation, students are prepared to perform duties in the front or back office from measuring vital signs, to assisting with exams, performing laboratory testing, maintaining equipment and supplies, administering injections, obtaining blood specimens, registering patients, and answering and returning phone calls.
As a supplement to their online coursework, Georgia Southern University’s online medical assistant program requires students to participate in a clinical experience course (after becoming CPR-certified). Because this CCMA program is administered through ed2go, it is considered non-credit, and does not qualify for federal financial aid. Instead, students pay a flat fee of $2,990.
Valdosta State University
At Valdosta State University, students can enroll in the 100% online Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Training program whenever their schedule allows, as there is no set start date. The university partners with ed2go to deliver the online curriculum. Like Georgia Southern University, the total cost of the course includes a voucher for the CCMA exam. On average, this course takes roughly nine months to complete, though students can work at their own pace to move through the material more quickly or less quickly. That said, this online medical assistant program online in Georgia must be completed no more than 12 months from the time of enrollment. As part of the program, students will also have the opportunity to participate in an unpaid clinical experience and receive CPR certification.
Students are trained to serve in a variety of positions that combine office operations and patient procedures. As CCMAs, students will find themselves coordinating patient scheduling, facilitating office visits, and managing patient records. They may also assist with exams and EKG, phlebotomy, and laboratory procedures.
What to Look for in Online Medical Assistant Programs in Georgia
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of what several top online medical assistant programs in Georgia offer, let’s break down and discuss the features that make up a good program. As you continue your research, keep an eye out for these important attributes so you pick a program that will adequately prepare you for a career in GA.
Requirements to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in GA
In order to receive your certification as a medical assistant in Georgia, there are certain steps you have to take. You will need to complete your schooling, complete an externship/internship, take the exam, and keep your certification up to date. You can speak with a school advisor for more detailed information on each specific step, but the overview we’ve provided below should be enough to give a big picture idea of what to expect.
Answering FAQs About Online Medical Assistant Programs in Georgia
While we have covered a lot of information already, you may still have some questions about the online medical assistant programs in Georgia. To make sure you have all the information you need, we’ve made a list of some frequently asked questions and answered them below.
Are scholarships or grants available for online medical assistant students in Georgia?
Yes, there are many financial aid opportunities online medical assistant students. These opportunities can be offered a school itself in the form of merit-based scholarships, or through the local or federal government. To make yourself eligible for federal funding, you should always apply for FAFSA. Be sure to look into state or local scholarships, grants, and work-study programs if you’d prefer to avoid taking out loans. Remember, if you’re considering attending an unaccredited online medical assistant program in Georgia, you may not qualify for governmental aid.
Are there professional organizations or networking opportunities for Georgia medical assistants?
Yes, there are many networking opportunities for medical assistants in Georgia, chief among them being professional organizations like the American Association of Medical Assistants and the Georgia-specific Georgia Society of Medical Students. These organizations provide training and educational resources, as well as networking opportunities.
Do I need to complete any prerequisites before applying?
This answer will depend on the school or program you choose to enroll in. Most programs only require a high school diploma or GED, but there are some programs that require prerequisite general education courses as well. Be sure to check each individual school’s admission requirements.
How much should I expect to pay for my program?
Each school has different tuition rates, which can be offset by things like vouchers, scholarships, or other financial aid. However, you can expect the general cost of an online medical assistant program in Georgia to start at around $2,500.
What are the admission requirements for Georgia medical assistant programs?
The general admission requirements to online medical assistant programs in Georgia almost always include a high school diploma or GED and little else. Some schools also require letters of reference, and a college admission essay. Admission requirements are typically available on a school’s website.
What does an online medical assistant curriculum in Georgia cover?
The general course curriculum for an online medical assistant program in Georgia covers the various systems within the body, the basics of pharmacology, diagnostic procedures, medical records and documentation, microbiology, first aid, electrocardiogram usage, and nutrition. Each program may cover slightly different concepts or offer elective courses or specializations.
Georgia Medical Assistant Salary and Career Insights
Earning your certification in medical assisting takes hard work and dedication, and you want to be sure it will be worth it in the end. Will you be able to find a job? How much will you get paid? We’ve answered these questions below. Take a look at the following tables to get an idea of your job outlook in the field and salary potential across the state of Georgia after you graduate from your online medical assistant program.
Between 2020 and 2030, it’s expected that there will be 4,370 new job openings each year in Georgia alone, with an expected total of roughly 34,530 new jobs. The job growth rate for medical assistants in Georgia is 34%, far higher than the national average.
The average annual salary for medical assistants in Georgia typically ranges from $30,000 to $36,000, although medical assistants in Atlanta, Savannah, and Gainesville can expect salaries of up to $47,000. As you’ve likely guessed by now, your salary will depend heavily on where in Georgia you live, i.e. a suburban or rural area. The Brunswick area has the lowest salary for medical assistants in the state. Take a closer look at our salary breakdown below to see how much you can make in your city — or where you might consider moving to optimize your earning potential.
Source: Projections Central
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics