Want to become a medical assistant? Don’t have time to take classes at a college campus? Online medical assistant programs may be the solution you’ve been looking for. With the help of online medical assistant courses, you can get all the education you need without having to change your current lifestyle. Ready to take the plunge into a rewarding and lucrative career? Let us help you get started today!
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Top Online Medical Assistant Programs of 2014
Here is a list of the best online schools for medical assistants, all of which are fully accredited:
Herzing University offers an associate of science in medical assisting services that you could use to jump start your career. Most students are able to complete the diploma version of the program within 12 to 20 months, and the associate’s degree lasts 16 to 24 months. Both degrees prepare for certification exams issued through the American Medical Technologists Association. Herzing’s online medical assistant courses are accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, a nationally recognized accreditation institution. In addition to the online medical assistant programs this school has to offer, students may choose to enroll on campus in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wyoming.
Kaplan University offers an amazing associate of applied science in medical assisting that you could use to work as a medical assistant. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, and it features three competency courses that prepare you for various tasks in your career. Kaplan University is known for offering quality medical degree programs online, and that is no different for medical assistants. If you prefer learning on campus, there are classrooms available in Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska. For most students though, online classes for medical assistants are the most convenient.
Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy offers an associate of science in medical administrative assisting. This degree involves 60 credit units of courses that take between 61 and 96 weeks to complete. The medical assistant classes at UMA are unique in that they are all five weeks long. Rather than taking four courses at a time for a third of the year, you take one or two courses at a time for five weeks each. This allows you to get through your degree faster, and it gives you a chance to focus more on each of the classes you take. There are breaks throughout the year that you can utilize, but most students charge through the classes as quickly as possible. You could be a medical assistant in a little over a year if you planned your schedule correctly.
Harrison College is one of the premier universities for medical assistant studies, and it now has a degree program online. It was founded in 1902 and has over 5,000 students under its name. The associate of applied science in medical assisting here is a 96 credit program that lasts approximately two years. Through the courses in this program, you will learn about administering medications, running laboratory tests, handling office procedures, checking vital signs, and managing other tasks related to medical assistance. As long as you get through your class work, you should be able to find a job shortly after graduation
Rasmussen College offers an exciting associate’s degree program for aspiring medical assistants. The associate of science in medical assisting here is fully accredited by the HLC. This school has a placement rate of 82%, making it one of the most successful colleges on this list. It also has a tuition lock program that ensures your tuition rates will not increase as you go through school. The degree program is 90 credit hours in total, and it takes approximately three years to complete. Some students are able to get through faster than that.
Keiser University is a fully online college that offers an associate of arts in health services administration. You can use a degree like this to become a medical assistant, and you can get through the program in as little as two years with summer school. The staff here works with students before, during, and after graduation to ensure they find jobs as quickly as possible. The degrees here are accredited by the SACSCOC.
Fortis College offers some of the most sought after degree programs online, including an associate of applied science for medical administrative assistants. The degrees in this school are accredited by several institutions, so you are guaranteed to get a good education.There are physical campuses for Fortis College located throughout the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. You can also choose to take your degree entirely online. Once you graduate, you will enjoy the benefits of the career placement program this school offers so you can start your job in no time.
San Joaquin Valley College
San Joaquin Valley College offers two programs for medical assistants. One is an associate of science in medical assisting, and the other is a certificate of medical assisting. Both options can allow you to work as a medical assistant, but the associate’s degree is a little more involved. This would give you a better chance of finding work in the future, but either educational path will do. SJVC has some of the lowest tuition rates around, and that’s why its degrees are considered among the best medical assistant programs online.
Penn Foster College
Penn Foster is one of the leading names in online education, and it happens to offer an associate’s degree in medical assisting. In this program. you will learn everything you need to know to work as a medical assistant, including medical terminology and laws. Penn Foster College is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, and they boast that their medical assistant associate’s degree is 86% cheaper than the competition. You can get an affordable education here.
Westwood College is one of the only schools on this list that offers a 165 hour externship through its associate’s degree in medical assisting. The program allows students to apply what they are learning to a real world setting and get a better feel for what their careers will be like. If you are trying to get out of school as quickly as possible, you may want to consider their diploma in medical assisting instead. This will give you the basic skills needed to work as a medical assistant.
What Is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants take on the tedious tasks in the medical field that other professionals need to work efficiently. Most of the work in this profession is clerical and clinical, such as scheduling patient appointments and writing down medical histories. A medical assistant may jot down a patient’s height, weight, and symptoms before a doctor assesses the patient. He may also give shots and prepare blood work for the lab.
The specific job description you may have as a medical assistant will depend on the doctor’s office or hospital you work for. You can talk to other medical assistants in your area to find out what life is like for them on a daily basis.
Why Become a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants are in high demand across the country right now. With just a couple years of training, you can practically be guaranteed a job. Many medical assistants go back to school to become nurses, lab techs, and more. Others are plenty happy working in this field. No matter what your goals are, you can achieve them as a medical assistant.
Curious about what you’ll make as a medical assistant? Check out this chart:
- Less than 1 year of experience: $8.52 – $14.66 per hour
- 1-4 years of experience: $9.29 – $15.07 per hour
- 5-9 years of experience: $10.68 – $17.05 per hour
- 10-19 years of experience: $11.22 – $18.78 per hour
- 20 years of experience or more: $12.24 – $19.95 per hour
The average medical assistant in America earns $13.87 an hour, which results in $28,860 a year. These pay rates will change by location, employer, and educational background, but they should give you a good idea about the kind of potential you can look forward to. This may not be the most lucrative career around, but it is definitely better than minimum wage.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 31% growth rate for medical assistant jobs between 2010 and 2020. This is much faster than the national average. What does this mean for you? More jobs than you could ever apply for! There were 527,600 medical assistant jobs in 2010, and that number is expected to jump to 690,500 by 2020. Finding work as a medical assistant should not be a problem at all. If you’re looking for job security, this is the way to get it.
Perhaps the best reason of all to become a medical assistant is the fact that you can easily transition your education to other jobs in the future. For instance, you might become an office manager for a doctor’s office, or you might go back to school to become a nurse or nurse’s aid. You will already have knowledge of medical forms and terminology, which will give you a head start over the competition. You could become a nurse practitioner or even a doctor if you want to, as long as you keep earning the degrees you need.
What to Expect from an Online Medical Assistant Program
Online medical assistant programs are run much like the campus programs they’re built from. They offer the same information and the same timeframes. The only difference is where you learn and how you go about turning in assignments. Everything happens from the convenience of your computer.
The average medical assistant program takes approximately 9 months to complete, though some can last as long as 2 years. At the end of the program, you will either have an associate of science in medical assistance, or you will have a chance to earn a certification for medical assisting. Becoming certified is the key to finding work right after you get out of school. In fact, many students are able to start working while they are finishing their education because they have a high chance of passing their certification exams.
Note that you can work as a medical assistant right after high school if you find an employer willing to train you. It takes 5 years of experience as a non-educated medical assistant to apply for a certification exam, but it is something you can do if you must. You can shorten that timeframe considerably if you simply look for a medical assistant school from the start.
The courses you take will depend on the school you attend, but some common ones include:
- Customer Service
- Doctor/Patient Confidentiality
- Medical Ethics
- Medical Law
- Medical Terminology
- Patient Record Keeping
You will learn about the paperwork and filing systems used regularly in the medical field so you can provide assistance to other professionals.
The great thing about going to school online is the fact that you get to set your own schedule. No matter how busy you may be right now, you can find time to work your classes into your life. This could be during a lunch break at work, late at night before bed, early in the morning before your shift starts, etc. As long as you have access to the internet, you can schedule your classes for any time.
Note that a lot of online medical assisting programs are not set up like traditional degrees. Rather than having a spring, summer, and fall semester, you may have one or two classes that you take for a month straight. After completing that course, you move on to another one. This will ultimately help you get through your degree quicker so you can start looking for a job.
You will need textbooks for online medical assisting classes just like you would regular ones. Some schools may ask you to purchase e-books instead of regular textbooks, just to save a little money. You shouldn’t need a ton of notebook paper or anything along those lines because you can type notes for video lectures on your computer. Just make sure you have a strong connection to the internet.
The tuition rates for online medical assisting programs vary from school to school. For the most part, you can expect to spend less than $300 a credit hour. Online schools have the ability to offer low tuition rates because they do not carry the same overhead that other schools have. You can use this to your advantage. If you don’t have the means to pay for school out of pocket, don’t worry. You can still benefit from scholarships, grants, and other sources of financial aid.
If you want to be guaranteed work when you get out of school, you need to become a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant. You can take an exam for this through the National Healthcare Association and the American Association of Medical Assistants. Some states will also offer certification exams on their own, which is something you should look into while applying for jobs. If your employer expects you to have a specific certification, make sure you take the test before you apply.
How to Choose the Best Online Medical Assistant School
We’ve listed the best online medical assistant schools for you here, but you still have to decide which one you want to go through. One of the easiest ways to do this is by deciding what kind of degree you want to have. Do you want to go through an entire associate’s degree, or would you rather stick with a diploma? Do you have plans on enrolling in other degrees in the future? You need to find a school that is going to offer the education you’re looking for so you don’t have to find yet another school down the road.
You also need to think about whether or not the school is accredited. This will make a big difference in your employment options and transfer credits (if you decide to do more later on). If your degree is not accredited, you are essentially completing courses that don’t mean anything. The training in them might be legitimate, but it isn’t monitored. Thus your employers and other schools you may look into won’t know how much you really know.
Compare the costs, timeframes, admissions requirements, and other factors for each school you’re thinking of attending. You may want to read reviews of the schools or talk to former students if you truly want to go the extra mile with your research. Once you find a medical assistant program online, all you have to do is enroll and start attending.