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Online Medical Assistant Programs

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Our database of online medical assistant programs and degrees is a helpful starting point for students evaluating their career preparation options.

Online Medical Assistant Programs Frequently Asked Questions:

Going back to school is sometimes necessary when pursuing a new career, but it’s often inconvenient for busy adults. Fortunately, you can find online medical assistant programs that may allow you to fit career preparation into your hectic life.

While students interested in medical assisting used to be limited to campus-based community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools, and other institutions, online medical assistant programs are now a path worthy of consideration. The advent of online extension programs from traditional universities, as well as recent innovations in e-learning to meet the needs of diverse students, have led to the growth of online learning opportunities from accredited schools. Though they don’t supplant traditional methods of education, online programs may be an alternative for students desiring to learn from home. Whether you need flexibility because of work and family commitments or your geographic location doesn’t permit you to attend school in person, e-learning could be one way to prepare for your medical assisting career goals.  

Three types of online medical assistant programs typically availableWhat kinds of online medical assistant programs and degrees are available?

If you are preparing to pursue a career as a medical assistant, you typically have three choices: a diploma program, a certificate program, or an associate’s degree in medical assisting.[i] A diploma or certificate program usually takes around one year to complete, while earning an associate’s degree takes an average of two years for full-time students.[i] Your choice depends on your budget and how much time you have to devote to career preparation. Many reputable colleges, universities, and trade or vocational schools offer one or all of these program options in an online format.

All three program types include both theoretical and practical study of topics such as human anatomy, medical terminology, first aid, and other subjects related to the clinical and administrative responsibilities of medical assistants.[i] Most of these programs include a practicum that allows you to experience a real medical environment.[ii] However, most of your coursework can be completed from your home or anywhere with an internet connection.

What are the benefits of online medical assistant programs?

Some students prefer campus based medical assisting programs, because they enjoy in-person instruction and the ability to socialize with classmates. For many adult learners, however, campus based class times may conflict with responsibilities such as work or caring for children. A benefit of learning online is the ability to complete coursework at the times of day that are most convenient for you. For example, you may be able to view a lesson during your lunch break, in the evening, or on the weekend. Being able to fit your schoolwork into your limited spare time could be the difference between putting off your career change for another time and getting started right away on your goals for a better future.

Online medical asssitant programs still offer support from instructors, and you may even get to know your classmates on a personal level. Most importantly, a reputable  program will offer the same or similar curriculum as an in-person program, so you won’t miss out on any essential preparation.

How can I find reputable online medical assistant programs?

When evaluating online medical assistant programs and degrees, accreditation is an important consideration to ensure your prospective program meets professional standards. Accreditation may be preferred by employers from an organization such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).[i] Our list of online medical assistant colleges consists of programs accredited by agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and/or an international accrediting body. Regional vs. national accreditation could be a consideration if you need to transfer credits you have earned to another institution in the future.

Some of the featured programs may also have specialized accreditation, which could be necessary if you decide to pursue licensure or certification following graduation.  For example to pursue CMA certification, you will need to have graduated from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).[ii]

[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-4 | [ii] For example, elearners.com/colleges/kaplan-university/aas-in-medical-assisting-7594/ | [iii] aama-ntl.org/medical-assisting/caahep-abhes-programs

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