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Best Online Medical Assistant Programs in Michigan

Your online medical assistant program can set the tone for your entire career.
Keep reading for a look at top programs, key features, next steps, and more.

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WRITTEN BY: Colleen Kienbaum
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 12/04/2023

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Do you dream of finding a quick way to enter the field of allied healthcare and make a difference in the lives of patients? Becoming a medical assistant is an excellent way to do just that, all while forming close working relationships with other medical professionals. Becoming a medical assistant can be a meaningful career in its own right or a steppingstone to something more. Either way, this career is growing rapidly and has a much stronger than average job outlook between now and 2032.

Before you can take advantage of the many benefits of this new career, however, you must complete a medical assistant program that prepares you with the knowledge and skills you need to assist patients and other practitioners. You may be wondering what online medical assistant programs are available to you in Michigan and how to distinguish between them. It’s important to take the time to explore your options and know what you’re looking for. That’s where we come in. Keep reading to learn more about some of the best online medical assistant programs in Michigan — including their admission requirements, costs, and timelines — and what you can expect after graduating from one.

Selecting a medical assistant program online in Michigan can and should take some time. Looking at what a program offers and whether it suits your needs is important. To help you get a feel for what a good program looks like, we’ve highlighted three of the best available in Michigan today.

Baker College

Baker College offers a one-year, 30-credit Medical Assistant Certificate program that prepares students to enter the workforce as certified professionals. This program combines practical experience with a traditional education model to help students gain and apply critical thinking skills. The program’s open enrollment model is extremely flexible, making it possible for students to start their training when it fits their schedule. The medical assistant certificate program at Baker College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and offers cutting-edge, immersive practical training opportunities and courses in subjects ranging from Basic Clinical and Administrative Skills to Dosage Math and Pharmacology. Some core courses are offered via Online Live, allowing students to pursue their education remotely.

By the time they graduate, students will have fulfilled the necessary requirements to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certifying exam to become Certified Medical Assistants (CMA). As of the 2023-2024 school year, students can expect to pay $13,050 in tuition.

Bay College

Students of Bay College’s Certified Medical Assistant Certificate program can graduate in as few as three semesters, after which they are eligible to sit for the CMA exam. Bay College prides itself on small class sizes and affordable tuition for in-district and in-state students. Like many other medical assistant programs offered in Michigan, Bay College offers a combination of online and in-person training, including 40 hours of didactic instruction and a 160-hour clinical externship. Bay College also offers convenient class times and options for students who need to balance their academic and other responsibilities.

Oakland Community College

At Oakland Community College (OCC), students can choose to enter the CAAHEP-accredited Medical Assisting Certificate Program or start smaller by earning a Certificate of Achievement in phlebotomy, office administration, or insurance billing. OCC graduates passed the 2022 CMA AAMA exam with a 100% pass rate, which is far above the national average. Prospective students can register for online information sessions for assistance developing a personalized education plan before enrolling on a full-time or part-time basis.

Tuition assistance and job placement resources are available to students after graduation through the Henry Ford Health Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program.

The Ultimate Checklist for Online Medical Assistant Programs in Michigan

Applying for an online medical assistant program in Michigan is an excellent way to propel yourself into an exciting career in allied healthcare. For better or worse, the program you attend can dictate the course of your career, so to set yourself up for maximum success, we recommend keeping an eye out for the following program features:

Accreditation

You can think of accreditation as quality control when it comes to academic excellence. Tied to financial aid eligibility, student performance, graduation, and exam pass rates, accreditation is an important factor for any student to consider. Your ability to become certified as a medical assistant often hinges on whether you have completed an accredited program. While accreditation may not be necessary for a program to operate, it can help you feel confident you are receiving a high-quality education that will be recognized and respected by your future employer(s).

Eligibility for Certification Exams

Certification demonstrates a mastery of necessary skills and a high level of professional competence; while not required by law, certification is the standard many employers expect medical assistants to meet. Inevitably, different programs will have different requirements for taking a certification exam following your graduation from the program. Look for ones that offer exam preparation to help increase your chances of earning your certification the first time.

Faculty Qualifications

The level of education a Michigan-based medical assistant program offers depends largely on the qualifications of its faculty. Faculty are responsible for providing instruction, feedback, and guidance so it should come as no surprise that their qualifications directly affect the overall caliber of education you’ll receive. Look for programs that highlight faculty experience and offer insight into their academic and professional backgrounds.

State-Specific Considerations

In Michigan, neither certification nor licensure are required by law. However, most employers and health systems that call Michigan home still require medical assistants to have taken and passed a nationally recognized certification exam. Medical assistants that want to become certified must complete formal training and education as required by national exam administrators, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), which administers the Certified medical Assistant (CMA) credential, and the American Medical Technologists., which administers the Registered medical Assistant (RMA) credential.

Student Success Rates: Graduation and Certification

Graduation and certification rates help shed light on how well a program prepares students for the real world. As you delve deeper into program websites and brochures, keep in mind that programs that offer additional support services, like career planning and mentorship, tend to have higher graduation and certification rates.

Transferability

Attending a program with a robust transfer policy opens several doors for you down the line. Do you think you might want to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree someday? Is there a chance you’ll relocate to another state? In either case, being able to transfer the credits you earn from your online medical assistant program in Michigan will allow you to keep moving forward without getting bogged down retaking courses you’ve already passed. It will still be your responsibility to meet any additional requirements of your next school or state, but this is a great place to start.

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in MI: The Next Right Step

Becoming a medical assistant in Michigan sets you up for a meaningful career with strong job prospects. But aside from the right education, what does it take to get there? Your journey will be unique to you, but there are certain steps you should expect to take.

Complete a Clinical Externship

Completing a clinical externship is not always required to become a medical assistant. However, students who plan to become Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) or Registered Medical Assistants (RMAs) need to complete 160 clinical hours, at a minimum, to be eligible to sit for the national certification exam. Externships are typically unpaid, but provide an opportunity for clinical immersion and valuable hands-on experience that you’ll draw on for the duration of your career.

Graduate From an Accredited Program

To become a CMA (or RMA), you must graduate from an accredited medical assistant program with a certificate, diploma, or degree. Currently, there are two nationally recognized accrediting bodies: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). When looking for a medical assisting program online in Michigan, it is a wise idea to check the programs site for information on their accreditation prior to enrolling.

Pass the Certificate Exam

The CMA exam offered by the AAMA is considered the gold standard for medical assistant certification in the United States. Easily the most recognized credential, it is only available to those that have met certain educational requirements. With the AAMA pass rate at only 58% for first time test takers, it is important to review a program’s graduation and exam pass rates before deciding which program to attend.

Renew Your License and Take Continuing Education Credits

As we’ve mentioned, Michigan does not have licensing or continuing education requirements for medical assistants, however, certifying bodies like the AAMA do. The certifying body you take your certification exam through is the same one through which you will complete your renewal and continuing education requirements. Many certification exams require renewal periodically (every five years for the CMA credential). Maintaining up-to-date continuing education hours is a good way to remain eligible for recertification. You may also choose to recertify through exam in lieu of education hours if you prefer.

Online Medical Assistant Programs in MI: Your Questions Answered

You may still have questions about online medical assistant programs in Michigan, and that’s okay. It is normal to want to know as much as possible about the opportunities available to you before selecting an online medical assistant program that best suits your needs. That’s why we’ve collected and answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding medical assistant programs offered online in Michigan.

Do online medical assistant programs in Michigan have prerequisites?

Most Michigan-based online medical assistant programs have few, if any, prerequisites. While the majority of programs, including the one at Grand Rapids Community College, require applicants to be 18 or older at the start of the program, no prior healthcare experience is necessary.

How can I network during my program, and does it matter?

Yes, and yes. Networking before, during, and after completing your medical assistant program is a wise decision that can help jumpstart and accelerate your career. The Michigan Society of Medical Assistants is a professional organization with a bevy of resources and connections that can help you at any point in your career.

Is it difficult to be accepted to Michigan online medical assistant programs?

No, being accepted into a Michigan-based online medical assistant program is not usually considered difficult by applicants. Please note that programs that prepare students to sit for Certified Medical Assistant exams typically require a high school diploma or GED equivalent as a condition of admission.

What funding is available for online medical assistant students in Michigan?

In Michigan, qualified candidates are eligible to receive training for growing, in-demand career fields at little to no cost to them. You can visit the Michigan Works! Service Center to learn more about medical assisting programs, training grants, and other services you may qualify for. Online medical assistants at accredited schools are also eligible for federal financial aid and school-administered scholarships.

What is the average cost of an online medical assistant program in Michigan?

The average cost of a Michigan-based online medical assistant program depends on the length and type of degree you’re pursuing. For example, Henry Ford College offers a 15-month certificate program for $3,987 but for those seeking an associate degree in medical assisting, the cost can easily exceed $18,000.

What subjects do medical assistant programs in Michigan cover?

Because medical assistants work in both medical and administrative roles, students can expect courses to cover basic concepts of each. Students will learn about medical terminology, patient care basics, anatomy and physiology, and infection control principles, as well as insurance billing and coding, communication, and clerical duties.

Salary Expectations and Career Prospects for Medical Assistants in MI

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field of medical assisting to grow much faster than average over the next decade. Luckily for Michigan residents, this is true for the Great Lake State as well. Between 2020 and 2030, medical assistant jobs are expected to increase by nearly 18% — almost as much as they are expected to increase nationally. The availability of medical assistant jobs is only rivaled by the competitive salaries they offer. Michigan practitioners can expect to make up to $43,000 annually. Although salaries vary from city to city, medical assistants in urban areas can expect higher than average wages while those in rural areas typically earn below average wages. Keep in mind that salaries are often tied to cost of living, so areas that offer higher wages also tend to have higher costs of living.

Working closely with other allied healthcare professionals to maintain a medical facility and improve the lives of patients treated there requires training that will pay dividends in the form of ample and well-paying job opportunities. For a more detailed look at how much you can expect to make and where, check out the tables below.

Occupation NameNew Jobs (2020-2030)Job Growth Rate (2020-2030)Average Annual Openings (2020-2030)
United States853,50018.40%104,400
Michigan28,01017.60%3,420

Source: Projections Central

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Michigan$29,140$37,120$43,790
Ann Arbor, MI$30,230$38,740$47,910
Battle Creek, MI$29,340$37,210$45,260
Bay City, MI$24,460$30,540$38,220
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI$29,490$37,330$46,210
Flint, MI$28,670$36,070$38,270
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI$29,030$37,120$44,510
Jackson, MI$29,830$37,120$46,370
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI$28,470$36,400$45,670
Lansing-East Lansing, MI$29,340$37,110$38,610
Midland, MI$29,030$36,780$37,400
Monroe, MI$24,130$35,370$38,070
Muskegon, MI$28,490$36,090$37,120
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI$28,800$30,100$38,220
Saginaw, MI$27,780$35,920$38,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics