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Best Online Medical Assistant
Programs in Oregon

Navigate the best online medical assistant programs in Oregon for 2024 with
our comprehensive guide.

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WRITTEN BY: Taylor Cromwell
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 02/07/2024

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One of the most promising entry-level roles you can pursue in allied healthcare today is as a medical assistant. Across the country, job demand is expected to grow by 18 percent — and Oregon is no exception. The Oregon Employment Department forecasts that medical assistant job openings will increase by 23.3% through 2032.

Keep reading to learn how you can start your journey to becoming a medical assistant and playing a crucial role in patient care. We understand that you may have your doubts, questions, and uncertainties as you stand at this crossroads. Which program is the best fit for you? What resources are available to support your education and career goals? What makes one program stand out from the rest? We’ve got you covered — we’ll help you navigate the diverse landscape of online medical assistant programs in Oregon and all they have to offer.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to choose the online medical assistant program that aligns best with your aspirations. It’s time to take that first step toward a promising future as a medical assistant in the Beaver state.

If you’re just starting your search for medical assistant programs, it can be overwhelming trying to determine what to look for and how to compare programs. To help you jumpstart your search, we’ve highlighted some top programs in the state.

Central Oregon Community College

The Medical Assistant program at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is set in a simulated clinical setting, with supportive instructors and a team-centered approach. The program prepares students for high-demand, entry-level careers in allied healthcare. Students learn key duties from recording medical histories, to taking and recording vital signs, giving vaccines, and drawing blood.

Students employed by the St. Charles Health system can participate in a nine-month, noncredit training partnership with COCC to gain essential clinical experience. Based at the Bend hospital, this partnership empowers employees looking for career advancement greater training and eventual employment opportunities.

COCC’s program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, CAAHEP, ensuring that students receive a high-quality education recognized and respected by potential employers.

Oregon Health & Science University

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), in partnership with the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement (NIMAA), offers a standout online medical assistant training program that can be completed in just eight months. Students gain hands-on experience through externships at primary care clinics across Portland.

OHSU’s program consists of 240 hours an online learning on-site clinicals across four terms. Students benefit from personalized support, live and recorded sessions, interactive material, discussion groups, and customized education and mentoring.

The NIMAA curriculum covers everything students need to know to start successful careers as medical assistants, including rooming patients, taking vital signs, communicating effectively, performing venipuncture, and more. By the end of the program, students are prepared to take the National Healthcareer Association MA examination.

Portland Community College

Portland Community College (PCC) offers a nine-month CAAHEP-accredited online medical assisting program dedicated to ensuring the academic and professional success of its students. Portland Community College’s Medical Assisting Program boasts an impressive faculty, all of whom have completed the program themselves, giving them unparalled insight into the student experience and a more profound ability to provide support, mentorship, and guidance.

PCC offers a wide range of benefits to students including a guaranteed admission process, flexible class delivery, paid externship opportunities, and more. If you’re looking for more information about PCC’s medical assisting program, their student handbook provides a more in-depth description of everything you need to know.

The Ultimate Checklist for Online Medical Assistant Programs in Oregon

When it comes to choosing the right online medical assistant program in Oregon, it can help to have a few key essentials that you are looking for. These factors can not only impact your educational experience but also play a pivotal role in shaping your career prospects. To set yourself up for success after your studies, start early and do your research.

We’ve written this checklist to help you get started. In the section below we’ll explore the critical elements that should be on your radar before applying to a program.

Accreditation

Accreditation is one of the most important factors when choosing a medical assistant program. Accreditation ensures that a program meets established standards of quality and provides its students with the education and training necessary to excel in the field. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP) is the leader in the accreditation of health sciences and health professions education like medical assistant programs, including that at Portland Community College.

Eligibility for Certification Exams

Programs that prepare you for industry-standard certification exams are invaluable. An MA certification isn’t required to work in Oregon, though employers typically prefer to hire those with a quality education and well-developed skills. Holding a certification demonstrates your competence and can significantly enhance your employability. The Certified Medical Assistant exam, one of several you can take after completing your online medical assistant program in Oregon, is administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

Faculty Qualifications

Qualified instructors who are experts in their field play a crucial role in your education. Their knowledge and experience are instrumental in helping you develop the skills and expertise you’ll rely on in your career as a medical assistant. The program at Central Oregon Community College, for example, is administered by skilled and supportive instructors —you can learn more about them on the school’s faculty profile page.

State-Specific Considerations

Each state has its own regulations and requirements for medical assistants. Ensuring that your program satisfies Oregon’s specific guidelines is essential to avoid complications when you seek employment in the state. For example, the Oregon State Board of Nursing doesn’t require prospective medical assistants to earn their certification in order to work, nor does it set an age requirement for those who do seek certification. You can find other state-specific information on the Board’s website.

Student Success Rates: Graduation and Certification

A program’s track record in terms of student success is a strong indicator of its quality. High graduation and certification rates demonstrate that students are well-prepared for the workforce and are achieving their educational goals. Portland Community College offers some helpful details about the outcomes of its students: 92% of students are employed within a month after graduation and 97% of students pass their national exams.

Transferability

A medical assistant degree is a foundational program that you can build upon throughout your career. If, for example, you want to pursue a Bachelor of Nursing down the line, you want to ensure that the credits you earn as a medical assisting student can be transferred to other institutions and programs.

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

Becoming a certified medical assistant in Oregon is a rewarding journey that demands a strategic approach. To launch your career successfully, you must follow a series of essential steps, each of which can significantly impact your ability to earn and maintain your certification.

Complete a Clinical Externship

A clinical externship is a pivotal experience that allows you to apply the knowledge you gain in the classroom. It provides you with practical skills and firsthand exposure to the medical field, which is crucial for earning your certification. This hands-on experience enhances your competence and prepares you for the real-world demands of the role.

Graduate From an Accredited Program

Graduating from an accredited program is fundamental to becoming a certified medical assistant. Accreditation ensures that your education meets industry standards, providing you with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the certification exam and succeed in your career. Without an accredited program, your path to certification may be more challenging.

Pass the Certificate Exam

Passing the certificate exam is the ultimate step toward certification. This rigorous examination evaluates your proficiency in clinical and administrative tasks; success in the exam is the key to obtaining your certification. Though certification isn’t required for medical assistant jobs in Oregon, it can help you stand out among other candidates.

Renew Your License and Take Continuing Education Credits

Maintaining your certification requires periodic license renewal and continuing education. Keeping up with these requirements ensures that your skills and knowledge remain current. It also demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the medical assisting profession, which is helpful as you advance through your career.

Online Medical Assistant Programs in OR: Your Questions Answered

As you dive deeper into your search for the perfect online medical assistant program for you, you’ll likely have questions. Sorting through things like prerequisites, networking opportunities, and funding can all make it difficult to know where to start and how to compare programs. Here we’ve gathered some commonly asked questions to help guide you in your search.

Do online medical assistant programs in Oregon have prerequisites?

Specific prerequisites will vary from school to school, so it’s important to check with each program that you are interested in. However, there are a few common prerequisite courses that are common across medical assistant programs. These include Medical Terminology, Intro to Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Writing/Composition. Take a look at Clackamas Community College’s page for an example of necessary prerequisites.

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

Networking opportunities are a vital component of any educational program. Even if you are taking classes online and part-time, it’s possible to prioritize building relationships that will expand your network and further your career. You’ll want to take advantage of online forums and other communication tools to connect with fellow classmates and instructors.

If you’re looking for additional networking opportunities, the Oregon Society of Medical Assistants (OSMA) is a professional organization that supports medical assistants through education, mentorship and more.

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

If you have the prerequisites needed for a medical assistant program, it’s likely that you’ll be a competitive candidate. Given the nationwide shortage of medical assistants, schools are eager to find qualified and motivated applicants to train for the field.

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

Many types of scholarships are available for medical assistant students. These can include school-sponsored scholarships, such as this one from Oregon Coast Community College. You’re also likely to find funding close to home, whether through local organizations or a state agency, like Oregon’s Department of Education. Our guide to funding for medical assisting programs can be another helpful place to start.

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

The cost of an online medical assistant program can vary greatly. Certificate programs are typically more affordable, costing $1,500 on average. Meanwhile medical assisting degree programs can cost around $20,000. Portland Community College offers a more affordable option at $162/credit. Look at their tuition and fees page for a better understanding of the full cost.

What subjects do medical assistant programs in Oregon cover?

Medical assistant programs in Oregon cover a broad array of topics to prepare you for a career in medical assisting including a few core subjects. Central Oregon Community College’s core courses include Introduction to Clinical Medical Assisting, Clinical Phlebotomy, Administrative Medical Assisting and more. Check out their course catalog to see an example of what a program’s coursework will look like from start to finish.

Salary Expectations and Career Prospects for Medical Assistants in OR

According to the BLS, Oregon is expected to witness significant job growth for medical assistants from 2020 to 2030, with a remarkable 25.7% growth rate compared to the national rate of 18.40%. This equates to an average of 1,770 annual openings in the state, highlighting the demand for medical assistants in the region.

Oregon also offers competitive compensation for medical assistants. The median annual salary in the state is $45,710, surpassing the national median of $34,800. However, specific salaries vary greatly by region. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area stands out with the highest median annual salary of $47,560. On the other hand, Albany, Oregon, offers the lowest median salary at $37,800. This variance can be attributed to the cost of living, healthcare demand, and local job markets.

Use this data to help you make an informed decision on your next academic and professional step. If you’re looking for an entry-level role in the allied healthcare field with growing demand and competitive pay, pursuing a career as a medical assistant in Oregon could be a great option for you.

Occupation NameNew Jobs (2020-2030)Job Growth Rate (2020-2030)Average Annual Openings (2020-2030)
United States853,50018.40%104,400
Oregon16,17025.7%1,770

Source: Projections Central

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Oregon$36,360$45,710$57,600
Albany, OR$30,540$37,800$47,850
Bend-Redmond, OR$37,090$38,410$48,190
Corvallis, OR$37,090$38,220$48,510
Eugene, OR$36,000$44,530$48,160
Grants Pass, OR$35,590$37,990$47,810
Medford, OR$35,740$37,520$48,160
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$37,500$47,560$60,250
Salem, OR$36,780$45,040$57,180

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics