Most Affordable Online Medical Assistant Programs

Explore low-cost, accredited online programs that can help you become a certified medical assistant for less.

Search hundreds of schools
for the degree you want ......

I want my
In

Written By
Edumed Staff

last updated

Last Updated: 10/04/2021
——

Online medical assistant programs offer a flexible way for students to enter a thriving field. With a 19% projected growth rate, work for skilled medical assistants outpaces other healthcare support occupations. Earning your certificate, diploma, or degree from an affordable program helps you take full advantage of those trends, reducing expenses so you can graduate with less debt and focus on your career.

Designed as a starting place for aspiring professionals looking for budget-friendly options, this page ranks the most affordable online medical assistant programs for 2021. You’ll also find additional tips throughout on how to further cut costs for your medical assistant program.

Most Affordable Online Medical Assistant Programs in 2021

While many considerations go into choosing a school, affordability is often the deciding factor. With that in mind, we developed the following ranking of the most affordable online medical assistant programs found at community colleges and universities using the latest data from IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System). See “About the Ranking” below for more details on our rankings methodology.

or
About the ranking

x

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Most Affordable Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

 

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Affordability

  • Cost Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement Existence of this service on campus or online.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

 

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Rasmussen College-MinnesotaSt. Cloud, MN Private, For-Profit $ 2

A private university with satellite locations throughout the country, Rasmussen University offers an online medical assisting diploma administered by its Minnesota affiliates. The program features online and campus-based courses along with field experiences designed to build applied clinical skills. Each student completes a dozen classes in total, including capstone and externship requirements. Core coursework develops competency in direct patient care, medical intake processing, lab procedures, and other administrative responsibilities. Qualified transfer learners can finish the program prepared for certification in as few as 12 months.

Online learning at Rasmussen incorporates synchronous and asynchronous elements, increasing student convenience and accommodation. The school caps class enrollment at 25-30 students to support an interactive and collaborative learning environment. Rasmussen also uses a flexible, competency-based education model that allows students to gain credit for prior learning while completing traditional classes in topics like medical terminology, clinical lab techniques, and healthcare law. Students can also obtain industry certifications in areas like electronic record-keeping and phlebotomy along the way.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting Diploma

  • Credits: 51
  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Cost: $260/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); ABHES (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
34%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 Clarion University of PennsylvaniaClarion, PA Public $ 1

Clarion University of Pennsylvania’s 1-year, no-credit certificate in clinical medical assisting equips students to operate medical equipment, maintain lab specimens, and perform other duties in a range of healthcare facilities. It also prepares graduates for national certification exams and further training in vocational nursing or as lab technicians.

The curriculum blends in-person courses with virtual learning experiences. Students receive online instruction in key theories and techniques, augmented by hands-on applications with surgical tools and other medical equipment. Additional skills gained include recording vital signs, taking blood pressure, preparing patients for treatment and examination, administering medications, and maintaining confidential records.

Program Highlights:

Clinical Medical Assistant

  • Credits: N/A
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $2,499 (total cost)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
3 Herzing University-BrookfieldBrookfield, WI Private, Not-for-Profit $ 2

Herzing University’s online medical assisting program extends multiple pathways to accommodate a range of backgrounds. Its diploma track takes only eight months and includes 24 standalone courses administered by experienced healthcare clinicians. Students interested in a more comprehensive experience can earn an associate degree in just two years, gaining advanced credentials that support transfer to other allied health professions. Both programs administer all didactic course material using fully online platforms and enhanced communication tools. Students also complete hands-on lab experiences and a culminating externship at a local medical facility, resulting in 180 hours of supervised work in the field.

Both the diploma and the associate degree draw on a shared set of core classes that look at insurance adjudication, medical vocabulary, patient privacy, and human anatomy and physiology. Students pursuing associate degrees also complete courses in pharmacology, and billing and coding and undertake more extensive externship experiences. Students in both programs are eligible for school-based scholarships and other financial aid.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting Program Online

  • Credits: 24-60
  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Cost: $490/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL Private, Not-for-Profit $ 1

Keiser University’s Ft. Lauderdale-based eCampus offers an online associate degree in medical assisting science. Full-time students and qualified transfer learners complete the program in two years or less, building key skills in the clinical and clerical areas required of working professionals. The 60-credit course of study entails general education classes in science and the liberal arts, along with core medical assisting courses that look at insurance claims, billing and coding, and information management. Additional outcomes include preparation for national certification exams in medical assisting.

Required classes in Keiser’s program come in convenient online formats for optimal flexibility and convenience. Experienced faculty administer courses in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, and they respond to all student communications within 24 hours. The only in-person component is a final externship that occurs after other requirements are met and often takes place in students’ local areas. During that time, candidates practice measuring vital signs and assisting presiding physicians.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting Science, AS

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $9,904/semester
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP, MAERB (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 University of ProvidenceGreat Falls, MT Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1

The University of Providence administers an online certificate in medical assisting from its main campus in Great Falls, Montana. Designed for completion in just 10 months, the entry-level program serves students in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. Its curriculum includes five undergraduate courses in key competency areas and a 160-hour internship at regional clinics and other partner facilities. Students build foundational communication skills and learn to deliver quality, compassionate, and patient-centered care in a variety of medical settings.

Required classes at the University of Providence cover nutrition, pharmacology, healthcare ethics, and administrative practices. Aspiring professionals receive material for each 8-week course using interactive online platforms with learning assessed during in-person skills labs. The school maintains small class sizes for individual attention and uses a cohort model to help new medical assistants develop professional networks. Qualified applicants need active CPR certifications and must pass criminal background checks.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Certificate Program

  • Credits: 16
  • Length: 10 months
  • Cost: $509/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
14%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
6 Purdue University-GlobalIndianapolis, IN Private, For-Profit $ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
8%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
or
About the ranking

x

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Most Affordable Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

 

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Affordability

  • Cost Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement Existence of this service on campus or online.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

 

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Lenoir Community CollegeKinston, NC Public $ 1

Lenoir Community College’s healthcare and nursing division administers more than 20 different programs, including an associate of applied science in medical assisting. The program builds a broad-based skill set to equip healthcare professionals for clinical, administrative, and laboratory responsibilities. Core class cover medical billing and coding protocols, transcription, insurance processing, and ethical/legal concerns. Graduates are fully prepared to obtain vital signs and administer medications, perform phlebotomies and EKGs, and assist physicians with other procedures.

The Medical Assisting AAS coursework at Lenoir Community College also creates transfer pathways through quality instruction in general education areas like psychology, communication, and mathematics. The hybrid model for course delivery allows for face-to-face interaction with the convenience of online, self-paced learning.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting, AAS

  • Credits: 73-74
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $127/credit (in-state); $319/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP, MAERB (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
34%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
2 Southwestern Community CollegeSylva, NC Public $ 1

Southwestern Community College’s medical assisting program boasts a 100% job placement rate and a 70% pass rate on the national certification exam. Graduates stand fully qualified to perform basic medical tasks and to help physicians and other healthcare professionals in hospitals, clinics, and other settings. Southwestern delivers half of the coursework entirely online using videoconferencing platforms and other open-source tools. The remaining courses are in person using traditional instruction methods. The curriculum looks at symptomology and patient education, drug therapy, nutrition, and exam room procedures.

The school accepts a limited number of applicants each year. Qualified students must submit materials in phases as outlined by the admissions committee. Accepted individuals complete a personal interview before beginning the program. Like other programs of its kind, Southwestern supports easy transfer to a 4-year degree. The school also administers a fully online certificate in medical assisting.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assisting, AAS

  • Credits: 70
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $86/credit (in-state); $278/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
3 Dakota College at BottineauBottineau, ND Public $ 2

Dakota College at Bottineau offers a fully-online medical assistant program that prepares students for certification and full-time work. Aspiring professionals complete their training in a year or less. The program includes core instruction in medical assisting and healthcare delivery and concludes with a 180-hour cooperative education experience in a local medical facility. Classes include medical disorders and terminology, office management, clinical procedures, and pharmacology principles.

Unlike other programs, Dakota College administers all coursework requirements online, allowing students the flexibility to study at their convenience and still receive individualized attention. The school also charges the same affordable tuition rate to all online students regardless of where they live. Most graduates finish in 1-2 years and go on to positions in surgical centers, chiropractor offices, and outpatient treatment centers.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant, Associate of Applied Science

  • Credits: 60 credits
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $239/credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 South Piedmont Community CollegePolkton, NC Public $ 1

Southern Piedmont Community College’s medical assisting programming includes a 1-year diploma and a 2-year degree. Both tracks build in sequence. The diploma develops basic conceptual foundations and prepares students for certification. The degree option provides more comprehensive instruction, preparing students for additional study and developing versatile skills in science and the liberal arts. Degree candidates first complete the diploma sequence, including courses in medical law and professional ethics, hazard control and infections, and basic laboratory procedures.

The school delivers all coursework using multiple options in 8-week sessions subject to availability. Students choose from classroom-based offerings, online instruction, and a blended option that combines classroom or clinical work with virtual experiences. Southern Piedmont also hosts free virtual information sessions for aspiring students throughout the year, and its Health Sciences and Nursing Division also work to connect students with viable financial aid and outside scholarships.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant Diploma and Associate Degree Programs

  • Credits: 46+
  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Cost: $76/credit (in-state); $268/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAAHEP, MAERB (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 South Central CollegeNorth Mankato, MN Public $$ 1

SCC’s medical assisting associate’s degree readies students for professional success and opens convenient transfer pathways to four-year institutions. Graduates are eligible for the national exam with a 94% placement rate following certification. Required courses include electronic record-keeping in allied health, nutrition and wellness, radiography, medical ethics, and medical office procedures.

Most classes come in online and in-person formats, so working professionals and busy students can more easily complete their training without disruption. South Central also charges a flat tuition rate for online instruction, making the experience more accessible to out-of-state applicants. Online courses at South Central use synchronous and asynchronous methods. The school also awards over $500,000 in scholarships each year to new and returning students.

Program Highlights:

Medical Assistant AAS Degree

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $211/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CAAHEP, MAERB (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
14%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
6 Craven Community CollegeNew Bern, NC Public $ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
80%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
7 West Virginia Junior College-MorgantownMorgantown, WV Private, For-Profit $$$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
31%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

What Makes an Online Medical Assistant Program Affordable?

Tuition varies widely among schools with a few key factors impacting the overall cost of your education. Use the affordability considerations detailed below to help you make a smart, well-informed decision that meets your needs without hurting your wallet.

How much financial aid you can get for your online medical assistant program

Financial aid from schools, government programs, and other outlets can significantly reduce education costs. Prospective students should complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal aid. Most schools with medical assistant programs also offer financial aid as do organizations like the American Association of Medical Assistants.

If the online medical assistant program has a class schedule that allows you to work while you study

Working while you study can be challenging, but it does offer distinct benefits. Receiving a steady income throughout your studies not only provides extra stability but also gives you more resources to cover costs. Specifics vary, but many medical assisting programs with online formats allow for flexibility on this, especially if you already work in the healthcare industry.

If the college is private or public

If you want to complete your medical assisting studies at a private school, plan to spend more on tuition. With few exceptions, public colleges and universities offer cheaper rates than private institutions, especially if you are an in-state resident, since private schools largely rely on tuition and outside donations for financial support.

How much of the medical assistant program coursework is offered online

Hidden travel and commuting expenses impact the overall cost. Virtually all online medical assisting programs involve at least one in-person component—usually a hands-on externship or clinical placement—but some may require more (e.g., meetups, skill labs, orientation sessions, etc.). Put those requirements into financial perspective to help inform your decision.

How much the college charges for you to apply

Some schools require a non-refundable application processing fee that costs $30-50 depending on the school. A single application may not cost much, but they add up if you apply to more than one program. Avoid that expense by prioritizing schools that either waive fees or don’t charge them at all.

What software and other equipment the school covers

Skilled medical assistants need the technical knowledge necessary to use advanced software packages and manipulate sensitive medical instruments. Some schools provide those tools for you or include them with tuition. Other programs expect students to cover those expenses, a hidden cost that could raise your final price tag.

How to Lower the Cost of Your Online Medical Assistant Degree


Expenses can add up even for the most affordable online medical assisting programs. Fortunately, there are a few ways to lower the cost. Here are a few budget-friendly tips to help lessen the burden.

  1. Search for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid designed specifically for medical assistant students.

Need or merit-based awards like scholarships and grants can go a long way, especially because they’re free and don’t need repaid, unlike student loans. Many medical assisting schools automatically place you in contention for financial aid when you apply, and some also connect incoming students with outside funding. See our guide to online medical assisting programs with financial aid for more information.

  1. Maximize student discounts

Individual student discounts may seem insignificant at first, but they do save you money and accumulate over time. For example, if you need to travel for school, companies like Kayak offer discounts for healthcare workers, applicable to rental cars, hotel reservations, and airfare. Our page on student discounts provides more detail and lists 50 different ways you can save.

  1. Utilize payment plans

Medical assisting programs often extend options for students who want to spread out their tuition expenses over time. For example, several schools included the ranking above partner with third-party providers to offer accommodating payment plans with reduced interest. Those plans aren’t always explicitly advertised, so it’s worth contacting financial aid offices to discuss your options.