medical assistant schools

Associates Degrees in Medical Assisting

FAQs for Associates Degrees in Medical Assisting 

What does an associates degree in medical assisting involve?

An associates degree in medical asssisting is an undergraduate credential that typically takes about 2 years of full-time study to earn. [i]  A Medical assistant associate degree can be found at some community or junior colleges, as well as online. They may be an alternative to medical assistant programs that don’t culminate in a degree, such as a diploma program. [i] In addition to career preparation courses like medical terminology and anatomy, most associate’s degree programs include general education classes to help students gain proficiency in math, science, composition, and other subjects. Additionally, your program may include a practicum to give students the experience of working in a real-life healthcare environment. Every associate’s degree program is different, so consult your prospective program’s website or a faculty member for more information on course offerings and opportunities.

What are the benefits of a medical assistant associate degree online?

Technically, medical assistants are not required by state law to undergo formal education. That said, employers may prefer medical assistants who have pursued career training such as a medical asssistant associate degree online. [i] Two or more years of full-time study should allow you to explore your field in depth, build your confidence, and practice the clinical and administrative skill sets you’ll need to pursue opportunities in medical assisting. Also, keep in mind that many medical assistant certifications, such as CMA (Certified Medical Assistant), require candidates to have graduated from an accredited medical assisting program. An associate’s degree could both fulfill that educational requirement and help you prepare for your certification exam. [i]

What’s the difference between an associate degree in medical assisting and a diploma program?

While an associates degree in medical assisting usually takes at least two years, a medical assisting diploma or certificate program can often be completed in a year or less. [i] If time is a concern, a shorter program that does not result in a college degree may be the right choice. If graduating from college is an important goal for you, however, opting to earn an associate’s degree could be the more rewarding path. For students who have just finished high school, an associate’s degree program could also allow much-needed time to explore the field of medical assisting, gain some maturity, and prepare more slowly for a future career. The choice depends on your time constraints and personal goals.

How do I choose a medical assisting associate degree online program?

At one time, students often chose their career training program based on geographic location. With today’s online learning options to consider, you now have other choices besides your local community college, with a medical assistant associate degree online. Whether attending school online or in-person, you’ll want to look for a program that is accredited and counts as the education requirement for any medical assistant certification you are thinking of pursuing. You may also be interested in finding out the graduation rates, as well as the percentage of graduates who pass certification exams. Finally, make sure your school has a good reputation for preparing students like you for successful career tracks.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm

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