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Online Colleges for Medical Assistants

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Article Sources

Sources :

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  22. Medical Assistant, Mountain State College, http://www.msc.edu/programs-of-study/medicalassistant
  23. Medical Assisting Program, Daymar College, http://www.daymarcollege.edu/programs/medical-assisting
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  25. Technical Certificate, Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, http://www.cccua.edu/Content/Uploads/cccua/files/Degree%20Plans/TC/TC_Medical%20Assisting.pdf
  26. Medical Assistant, Spencerian Louisville, https://spencerian.edu/louisville-campus/programs/medical-assistant/
  27. Medical Coding and Billing Diploma, Harrison College, https://harrison.edu/programs/school-of-health-sciences/Medical-Billing-and-Coding-Diploma
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As a result of the valuable services they provide, medical assistants can often be a bridge between the clinical and administrative sides of medical care. Their duties may include critical clerical work such as taking patient information, preparing examination rooms and entering data into electronic health records. These behind-the-scenes tasks are essential to the smooth operation of a medical facility, and as such, it's important for medical assistants to be up to the challenge.

Fortunately for busy adults, medical assisting lends itself well to distance learning. Online medical assistant degrees are available from many schools and at several levels. Keep reading for an overview of the top schools in the field, an explanation of what degrees are available in the field, and a look at the medical assistant career outlook.

Best Online Medical Assistant Colleges in 2018-19

If you desire to work in a medical office and are looking for the education you need in order to get there, you're in the right place. We used a variety of key data points reported by the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to determine the 10 best online colleges for medical assisting. You can read more about the methodology used to create this list at the bottom of this page. First, however: our top 10 online colleges for medical assistant degrees and certificates.

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Methodology
1

Daymar College-Columbus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$15,000
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
87%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
3
School Type
2-year

As a technical career college featuring day, evening and online courses in career-oriented subjects such as business, criminal justice, accounting and health care, Daymar College-Columbus can be a convenient choice for nontraditional students. This school offers many different paths for pursuing medical assisting, including medical assisting, clinical medical assisting and medical assistant administration. Associate degree programs are available in all three specialties, while specific certificate and diploma programs can be taken for medical assisting or clinical medical assisting if desired.

Accreditation:

  • Daymar College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
 
2

Dakota College at Bottineau

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,419
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
76%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23
School Type
2-year

Dakota College at Bottineau is a school that is almost as old as the existence of the state of North Dakota itself, and it is a school that offers multiple avenues for pursuing medical assisting online. These options include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in medical assistant (graduates can sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam)
  • Associate of Applied Science in medical administrative assistant (graduates can sit for the Certified Medical Office Assistant (CMOA) exam)
  • Medical coding certificate program
  • Medical assistant diploma program (graduates can sit for the Nationally Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam)

DCB students, whether online or on-campus, are assigned a curricular advisor based on the subject they are majoring in. The advisor for medical assisting can assist students with registration, consultation and advice as needed.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

105 Simrall Blvd.
Bottineau N.D. 58318-1198
3

Rasmussen College-North Dakota

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$10,935
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
95%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

A for-profit college founded in 1900 with campuses across multiple states, Rasmussen College is made up of seven schools of study, which all have online degree programs on offer for interested students. One of the options available through their School of Health Sciences is the medical assisting diploma program, which covers skills such as performing diagnostic procedures, recording vital signs and administering medications.

This program is a hybrid program that bolsters its online courses with hands-on campus training, and it is designed so the credits can be easily transferred into health care associate degree programs. Online students, especially returning or transfer students, may be interested in Rasmussen's Flex Choice courses, which are competency-based courses that give students greater control over the pace of their program.

Accreditation:

  • Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
 
4

Kaplan University-Davenport

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$14,263
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
114
School Type
4-year

*NOTE: Kaplan University has merged with Purdue University Global since this list was made. Please contact Purdue Global University-Davenport to learn whether the merged school can still fulfill your needs.

As of February 2018, Kaplan University has merged with Purdue University Global -- a college aimed at educating adults. This school offers two online programs that could teach aspiring medical assistants the skills they need for the workplace:

  • A medical assistant certificate program
  • A medical billing and coding certificate program

Special student support services are available for adult students who need help with financial aid, career counseling or disabilities. Financial aid programs are also available for those who qualify.

Accreditation:

  • Purdue Global University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
 
5

Highland Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,540
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
7
School Type
2-year

Back in 1858, the first college in Kansas was founded: Highland University. Well over 150 years later -- and eight name changes later as well! -- Highland Community College is supplying online education to students across Kansas and far outside of the Sunflower State's borders.

Through HCC, students can pursue an online Associate in Applied Science in medical coding, which requires 64 credit hours to complete. 41 of these credits are reserved for degree requirements, while the rest are allotted to various basic and general education courses such as science and the humanities. Financial aid is available, as is an IT Help Desk, technology support and a special student network.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
 
6

Barton County Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,456
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
44%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48
School Type
2-year

Barton County Community College formed its virtual campus, BARTonline.org, in 1998. A member of the online EDUKAN cooperative effort, BARTonline.org hosts online programs and courses for its students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students who want to become medical assistants may consider looking into BARTonline.org's three related online programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in medical admin technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in medical lab technician
  • Certificate in medical coding

BARTonline.org offers an array of services to help students transition to college life, including academic advisors, counseling, IT help, tutoring and disability services. And thanks to its open admissions policy, BCCC is easily accessible to applicants who have earned a high school diploma or a GED certificate.

Accreditation:

  • Barton Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
 
7

Herzing University-Madison

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,850
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
98%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31
School Type
4-year

With faculty, student services, career services and support staff all committed to assisting the online student body, it's clear that Herzing University wants to support its nontraditional students. The university offers two medical assistant programs online through its Everywhere Classroom: an associate in medical assisting services and a diploma in medical assisting.

Several related health care programs are also available, such as the online Associate of Applied Science in medical billing and insurance or the online diploma in medical coding. Furthermore, Herzing encourages medical assistant students to consider their bachelor's degree program for health care management, which may be able to help graduates advance into leadership positions at hospitals or medical offices.

Accreditation:

  • Herzing University - Madison is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
 
8

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,600
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
46%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas is a two-year college within the University of Arkansas System. It has campus locations in De Queen, Nashville and Ashdown, as well as an online campus that offers a technical certificate program in medical assisting. Students in the program are expected to study medical terminology and transcription practices as well as medical office management, and they must also complete two medical laboratory classes and an internship.

All coursework offered through this college is transferable to the University of Arkansas's eVersity online college, which offers an online program in health care management rather than medical assisting.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

183 College Dr.
De Queen Ark. 71832
9

Independence University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$16,968
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

Independence University may be a good choice for students seeking medical assisting education, thanks to its fully online Associate of Occupational Studies in medical specialties degree program. This program is built to help students learn skills that are applicable to a wide range of potential careers in the health care industry, including medical billing, medical coding, nurse assistant, medical assistant, home health aide and phlebotomist.

Students must complete a total of 90.5 credits, which usually takes 22 months. Online students are encouraged to check with the appropriate licensing boards in their home state to determine the full licensure requirements for their prospective career choice. This is important, as Independence's program may fulfill licensure requirements or exam eligibility in some states, saving aspiring medical assistants both time and money.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Location:

4021 S. 700 E. Ste. 400
Salt Lake City Utah 84107
10

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$19,224
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
46%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58
School Type
4-year

Students looking to learn medical assisting may want to consider Keiser University's Fort Lauderdale Online Division. Through this online eCampus, Keiser offers an online Associate of Science in medical assisting science — and even better, the program is available in both English and Spanish. This makes Keiser University an excellent choice for students who are bilingual or who intend to work in communities with Spanish-speaking residents.

If you're concerned about entering the workforce after graduation, Keiser has many student services that can help out. Available resources include help with resume preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviews, professional development workshops and access to job boards.

Accreditation:

  • Barton Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
 

Interview with an Expert

Each of our students will work with an advisor from
the time that they inquire with our institution until graduation.

Lori Timmis

Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Siena Heights University

Interview with an Expert
Lori Timmis

Lori Timmis

Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Siena Heights University

Q: What qualities make Siena Heights’ online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) major in medical assisting an outstanding program?

A: One of the key things for us is student engagement. We've been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, and in their best online bachelor's degree programs ratings, we're #2 [in the nation] for student engagement.

We have institutional standards we've created for online course delivery. Those standards have helped in terms of delivering quality online classes to students. We are a small, private institution, and we look at students at a whole.

In regards the actual degree itself, we have offered the Bachelor of Applied Science degree for close to 40 years. It has focused on the adult student and the nontraditional student who has not only college credits but also work experience. We were the first in Michigan to deliver the Bachelor of Applied Science to adult students in that capacity. We are really proud of that.

Q: What support does Siena Heights offer their online student body?

A: Each of our students will work with an advisor from the time that they inquire with our institution until graduation. In addition to personal advising, we have e-tutoring for students where they have the ability to work with a tutor directly. We also have library assistance and support. We have financial aid assistance. We have also veteran and career services.

Q: How does an online program in medical assisting differ from an on-campus program?

A: In regards to this particular program, we are sectioned into an 8-week accelerated format. So that's a little different than going to campus and meeting in the classroom. But that's one minor piece. More of the emphasis is on how our degree is structured.

Our BAS is an inverted major. The student comes in with an associate degree in medical assisting or they've completed a training program that led to a credential or work experience. They bring that into Siena Heights, and we are able to establish the major [from that] in the BAS. We establish the major in medical assisting and will offer [that student] upper division courses that will help them in terms of being in the workforce.

Degree Overview: Medical Assisting

It's likely no surprise that earning a degree is very important for starting a career in medical assisting, but why? The answer is, the classes taken in the course of a medical assisting degree program can provide valuable skills and knowledge that are nigh-essential for the career. To learn more about the courses a medical assisting degree program might offer and the skills you could obtain from them, read on.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

An online program for medical assisting has a lot of concepts to cover if it's going to adequately prepare students for a career in the field. The following is an overview of just what may be covered in the different courses offered by such a program, depending on what school students attend.

  • Medical assisting fundamentals: This course strives to provide an overview of the medical assisting field and what students can expect when they enter it. Specific coursework may cover topics such as basic clinical procedures, emergency preparedness, specimen collection techniques, hematology, and equipment inventory and maintenance. Depending on the program, this course may require that students complete laboratory work.
  • Medical terminology: Medical terminology courses are designed to familiarize students with the medical vocabulary system by focusing on the spelling, definitions, pronunciations and structures of the words professionals need to know. In addition to existing terms, this class generally covers word roots, plurals and singulars, and prefixes and suffixes.
  • Medical law and ethics: People in the medical field are bound by certain laws and ethical standards when providing patient care. The purpose of this course is to teach students the parameters of these standards by studying areas such as HIPAA regulations, risk management and medical malpractice.
  • Coding and billing: In order for health care facilities to be paid for their services, insurance claims must be processed correctly based on a specific insurance system. This course is meant to expose students to how this system works by teaching them disease classification, coding concepts and medical terminology. In addition, the class might cover the specific billing and coding systems used by organizations such as Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the VA or Medicare.
  • Pharmacology: Pharmacology courses address topics such as dosage calculations, drug classifications, side effects of different drugs and the laws on controlled substances.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

The medical assisting profession requires a specific skill set, and online medical assistant degrees are designed to provide instruction in these abilities. The following are some of the skills that students may want to focus on as they go about their studies in these programs.

  • Technical skills: Medical assistants must know how to perform tasks such as checking patients' vital signs and blood pressure. In order to do this, they must have the technical skills to help them use certain medical instruments.
  • Detail orientation: Record keeping is an important part of the medical profession, in order to help ensure that patients are receiving the correct treatments. Being detail oriented helps medical assistants to record different patients' information accurately, as well as to provide data to insurance companies. When one small mistake in record-keeping can result in a medical emergency, paying attention to the details is imperative.
  • Listening: One of the most subtly important responsibilities of a medical assistant is interviewing patients to find out what's wrong with them. Active listening skills are needed in order to get this information and understand what patients need.
  • Analytical: People in the medical assisting field will be looking at a lot of charts, and they must understand what those charts mean if they're going to help treat patients and code procedures for billing. Strong analytical skills are important for putting together various records and readings in order to do what is best for their patients.
  • Interpersonal: Medical assistants work with patients in distress, so they should have strong interpersonal skills in order to communicate with them about their treatment, as well as keep them calm. Additionally, interpersonal skills are necessary to communicate with other medical professionals, like doctors and nurses.

Medical Assisting Specializations

Although medical assistants don't need to earn a certification to find a job, obtaining such a certification can impress potential employers, increasing the chances of being hired or being considered for more prestigious career opportunities. The following are some examples of the various certifications available in the medical assisting field.

  • The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the Certified Medical Assistant designation to professionals who have administrative, general or clinical experience.
  • The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), which is available through the National Healthcareer Association, allows professionals to show their expertise in tasks such as interviewing patients, giving injections, and checking vital signs and measuring the results. The organization also issues a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) for those with experience scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records and greeting patients.
  • The National Center for Competency Testing offers the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) credential to those who pass an examination that covers topics such as bookkeeping, phlebotomy, patient confidentiality, pharmacology and ECG.

Medical Assistant Career Outlook

Those who earn a diploma, certificate or degree in medical assisting may have the ability to work in a variety of health care management capacities. However, not surprisingly, these graduates most often pursue a career as a medical assistant.

Medical Assistant
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$34,540
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
95,000
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
29.1
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Postsecondary nondegree award
Compared to nurses and doctors, medical assistants have a relatively new profession within the field of health care. However, many medical clinics could not operate as they do today without the help of these professionals. Medical assistants are often responsible for performing both administrative and clinical duties. They may make appointments, check-in patients and take vital signs. Career prospects may be strongest for those who are familiar with electronic health records or who have earned a professional certification.
 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following four criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2016-17
  • Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below

We ranked 1,813 colleges and universities in the United States on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  3. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  4. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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