Medical Assistants are “the face” of medical clinics, physician offices and hospitals. Typically the first person a patient encounters, the role of the Medical Assistant can be diverse and varied. These specially trained assistants may work in the front office of a medical clinic, providing administrative services such as patient scheduling, billing and reimbursements, medical coding. etc. Additionally, some Medical Assistants will find themselves assisting physicians in conducting and recording patient histories, obtaining vital signs, gathering specimens for laboratory testing and/or administering injections under the supervision of a physician.
The latest information of the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a ten-year, much faster than average, job growth for Medical Assistants at 29% by 2026. There are over 600,000 Medical Assistants working in the U.S. today and that number is expected to grow by 183,000 within the period from 2016-2026. PayScale, an online employer survey company, places the median salary for Medical Assistants to be nearly $31,000 a year.
Medical Assistant certification is recommended and may be offered through: National Healthcare Association (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) and (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) American Association of Medical Assistants (Certified Medical Assistant), National Center for Competency Testing (National Certified Medical Assistant) and/or American Medical Assistant(Registered Medical Assistant). As you search for an Medical Assistant Associate Degree, it’s important the school you choose is an institution which is accredited by a Department of Education approved organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), other accrediting organization approved by the US Department of Education.
Best Medical Degrees has done the research for you on schools offering Associate Degrees in Medical Assistant programs. We look at criteria such as: 1) school and program accreditation, 2) estimated tuition costs (although, additional fees charged by the school are not included), 3) where appropriate, certification or other professional exam preparation, 4) online and blended/hybrid programs (blended/hybrid requiring minimum on campus attendance) and 5) internships or externships required.
Estimated Tuition Range: $3,000-$5,000
1. Penn Foster College
This is an online Medical Assistant Associate Degree which is accredited by Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and can help graduates sit for certification from The Registered Medical Assistant certification (RMA), The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certificate (CCMA), The National Certified Medical Assistant certificate or The Clinical Medical Assistant Certification. Requiring four semesters for completion, students will study core courses in: Introduction to Allied Health, Information Literacy, Computer Applications, English Composition, Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality in Allied Health, Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology and Interpersonal Communication. Degree specific coursework involves: Reimbursement Methodologies, Medical Coding, Electronic Medical Records, Essentials of Psychology, Pharmacology, Medical Surgical Procedures, Clinical Procedures Labs and an Externship.
Founded in 1890 by a newspaper editor, Thomas J. Foster, as a correspondence, educational opportunity for Pennsylvania coal miners, the school was renamed in 2006 when it transitioned from correspondence to internet education. Penn Foster offers three online schools: Penn Foster College, Penn Foster Career School and Penn Foster High School. Penn Foster has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
Estimated Tuition Range: $6,000-10,000
2. Northland Community and Technical College
This is an online A.A.S. in Medical Administrative Assistant degree through Northland Community and Technical College. Requiring 60 credit hours for completion, this degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and allows students to find employment in medical offices, hospitals, clinics, etc. Studies for this degree include: Introduction to Health Information Management, Medical Office Procedures, Medical Language Application, ICD Coding, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Electronic Health Records, Medical Office Simulation, Medical Billing/Insurance, etc. General education and electives may also be part of this program’s study.
Founded in 1949 as Thief River Falls Area Vocational School, the school became known as Northland Community and Technical College in 1973 and is a member of Minnesota State. Northland has over 4,000 enrolled students and has four sites, including an aerospace campus.
3. Dakota College at Bottineau
Dakota College at Bottineau provides an online Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree which requires 60 credit hours and may be completed within one year. Dakota College at Bottineau is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students will study courses in: Medical Disorders, Medical Terminology, Human Stucture & Function, Business Mathematics, Introduction to Computers, Clinical Procedures, Healthcare Law & Ethics, Introduction to Pharmocology, Principles of Nutrition, Basic Diagnosis Coding, Basic Procedure Coding, Clinical Specialties, Laboratory/Diagnostic Procedures, First Aid/CPR and Office Management. The degree also requires 180 Cooperative Education course conducted in an approved medical facility. Those with this AAS in Medical Assistant will be able to record patient history, measure vital signs, administer injections as directed by physician, prepare specimens for laboratory testing and schedule patient appointments. Successful graduates will be eligible to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam through American Medical Technologists (AMT).
Located in Bottineau, North Dakota was opened in 1906 as North Dakota School of Forestry; and, over the years has grown to include degrees in health care, web design, information technology and a strong liberal arts program. A small college, Dakota College at Bottineau has an enrollment of slightly less than 1,000 students and is part of the North Dakota University System.
4. Barton Community College
Barton Community College has an online, hybrid Medical Assistant Associate in Applied Sciencedegree, requiring 64 credit hours for completion. General education courses are included in this AAS degree and the program offers a curriculum including Interpersonal Communication, English, General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Anatomy & Physiology, Basic Pharmacology, Medical Terminology, Medical Coding, Principles of Phlebotomy, Medical Administrative Aspects, Patient Care, etc. Electives are offered in Word Processing Applications, Keyboarding and Nutrition Therapy. The school website does not specify if this program qualifies students to sit for certification exams. If certification is important to you, be sure to check with the admission advisor that the program qualifies.
Located in Central Kansas, Barton Community College was founded in 1965 and has approximately 17,000 students enrolled.
5. Olney Central College
Olney Central College has an online Medical Assistant program. Although not specified as an associate degree, the program is a degree program, requiring 68 credit hours for completion. The degree provides a broad base training for students to be able to work as a medical receptionist, medical office assistant and/or medical transcriptionist. Courses include studies in: Employment Methods, Business Computer Systems, Introduction to Medical Terminology, Electronic Medical Records Management, Medical Office Procedures, Medical Transcription, Clinical Processes, Anatomy for Healthcare, General Psychology, Medical Office Internship, Healthcare Law & Ethics, etc. Olney Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school’s website does not indicate if this degree qualifies students to sit for certification exams, so you may want to verify that it does by talking with an admission advisor.
Founded in 1963, Olney Central College is part of the Illinois Eastern Community College System with an estimated 2,100 student enrolled (2016).
6. Nebraska Methodist College
Nebraska Methodist College provides an online Associate of Science degree with an emphasis in Medical Assistant studies. Requiring a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) Medical Assistant certificate for admission, this program holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Needing 61 credit hours for completion, students may study full or part time. This degree may be considered an end to itself or can serve as a solid basis for a bachelor’s degree. Coursework for this Associate Degree will include 21 credit hours of studies in: Arts & Science coursework in Communications (English, Language), Humanities (critical thinking and reasoning), Natural and Applied Science (Elective) and Social Science (Psychology and Sociology). Once these studies are finished, the program will award 40 credit hours for certificate, or hospital based courses, to complete the degree.
Nebraska Methodist College began in 1891 in Omaha, Nebraska, primarily as a nursing school for young women. Today, the college is affiliated with the Nebraska Methodist Health System and is one of the largest health systems in Nebraska. With an average 1,100 enrolled students, the college offers 42 certificate and degree programs; and, has been named a “Military Friendly Schools” by G.I. Jobs.
Estimated Tuition Range: $15,000-$20,000+
7. Guilford Technical Community College
This is an online Associated Applied Science degree which requires 68 credit hours for completion. Coursework for this AAS degree include: Basic Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Computers, Orientation to Medical Assisting, Medical Terminology, Administrative Office Procedures, Exam Room Procedures, Symptomatology, Drug Therapy and a Clinical Practicum. Elective courses are also offered in Humanities/Fine Arts. On graduation, students will be able to work in a physician office handling tasks such as appointment scheduling, maintaining insurance accounts, assisting physicians with examinations/treatments, routine laboratory procedures, EKGs, medication administration, etc. The Guilford Technical Community College program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and successful graduates will be able to sit the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Examination (MAERB) and gain Certified Medical Assistant. The program is eligible for Federal Financial Aid for qualifying students.
Located in Jamestown, North Carolina, Guilford Technical Community College was established in 1958 and is the fourth largest institution in the North Carolina Community College System. With an estimated 35,000 students, GTCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges (COC).
8. Cincinnati State
Cincinnati State offers an online Medical Administrative Assistant (MAA) degree which requires 63 credit hours for completion. The program is a mixture of electives and required courses. Required studies involve: English Composition, Computer Literacy, Medical Terminology, Professional Practices, Medical Administrative Assistant, Financial Accounting, Medical Office Insurance Coding and Billing, Emerging Technologies and Social Media, Interpersonal Communication, Medical Administrative Procedures, Social/Behavioral Science, Principles of Management, Human Resource Management, etc. The program prepares students to work in a variety of medical offices and healthcare facilities.
Cincinnati State offers more than 100 associate degree programs in Business Technologies, Humanities and Science, Engineering and Information Technologies and Health and Public Safety. Established in 1966, the school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) as well as Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
9. Keiser University
Keiser University offers an online Associate Degree in Medical Assisting Science designed to train students in assisting physician with examinations, take accurate patient histories, perform EKGs, venipunctures, certain laboratory tests, measuring of vital signs, etc. Successful graduates will be able to sit for students to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credentialing examination given by American Medical Technologists (AMT). The program will take approximately two years for completion; and, includes 36 credit hours of Medical Assistant study in: Introduction to Healthcare, Anatomy & Physiology with Terminology & Disease Process, Pharmacology, Medical Office Procedures with Insurance, Medical Law & Ethics, Computerized Medical Office Management, Laboratory Procedure and an Externship. The program requires 24 credit hours of general education courses in: Behavioral/Social Science, Communications, Computers, Humanities/Fine Arts, Natural Science and Mathematics. Keister University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC) and programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
With campuses throughout Florida, Keiser University is one of the largest, independent colleges in the state. Established in 1977, Keiser University has an estimated 20,000 enrolled students and was tied at #23 as one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges within the Southern region.
10. Stratford University
Stratford University offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assistingwhich is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Requiring 90 credit hours for completion, the program may be completed in 24 months. Coursework for this degree includes core studies in: Computer Office Applications, Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Terminology, Medical Insurance, Billing, & Coding, Basic Clinical Procedures, Medical Computer Applications, Professional Procedures, Medical Law & Ethics, Pharmacology, Medical Office Practice, Phlebotomy Administration, Exams & Speciality Procedures, Electrocardiography and Medical Assisting Externship. The curriculum is designed to train students to serve a variety of medical office functions from scheduling, patient care processes and physician support.
With locations throughout Virginia and Maryland, Stratford University was established as a Virginia public benefit corporation, specializing in adult education; and, is a private school. The university has been recognized as a “Best for Vets” school by The Military Times and offers degrees in five schools.
11. Liberty University
An online Associate’s Degree: Medical Office Assistant degree, Liberty University Online’s program, through its School of Health Science, requires 64 credit hours for completion and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC). Students are required to take general education courses in: English, Math Science and Technology, Information Literacy, Critical Thinking and Christian Life and Thought. Medical Assistant studies include: Medical Office Systems & Procedures, Medical Office Insurance, Medical Office Billing & Bookkeeping, Medical Office Coding, Medical Office Infection Control, Medical Office Ethics & Law, Medical Terminology and an Externship. Graduates will be able to understand and apply legal and ethical issues typically encountered in a physician’s office, involving patient confidentiality, state and federal regulations (HIPAA), risk management and licensing, certification, etc. compliance.
A Christian University opened in 1971 and describes itself as “…an evangelical liberal arts institution…” which now boasts 16 colleges, 550 programs and over 100,000 students. Liberty University began its online educational outreach in the mid-1980s.
12. Daymar College
Daymar College offers an online Medical Assisting – Administrative Associate of Applied Science Degree; which holds Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) accreditation, a recognized agency by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit programs. This Associate Degree requires 92 credit hours for completion and courses include general education studies in: Computer Applications, Public Speaking, General English, Composition, College Math, Political Science and Psychology. The degree also requires studies in: Medical Office Management, Business Communication, Medical Terminology, Anatomy & Physiology, Electronic Medical Records and Reimbursement, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Medical Office Administration, Medical Law and Ethics/Exam Review Prep, etc.
Daymar College has provided career education since 1963 and has campuses in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, as well as it’s online programming. Daymar is a for-profit institution which offers certificate, associate and bachelor degree programs.
13. Alexandria Technical and Community College
Here’s an online Medical Administrative Specialist Associate Degree program. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), this degree requires 60 credit hours for completion and may be accomplished in 24 months. A broad based educational program, students will study: Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, Computer Skills, Medical Terminology, Introduction to Health Information, Basic Pathology, Introduction to ICD Coding, Health Care Systems and Practices, Electronic Health Records, Pharmacology & Lab, Medical Reception, Medical Office Management, etc. The program prepares students to seek employment as health unit coordinators, administrative and departmental secretaries or medical receptionists and admission clerks, etc.
With a campus in Alexandria, Minnesota, ATCC is a public institution which was founded in 1961. ATCC offers over 50 degree programs and has an impressive 90% employment placement rate for its graduates.
14. Ultimate Medical Academy
Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), Ultimate Medical Academy offers an online Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam upon completion of the program, which may be completed in 18 months. The 62 credit hour program includes general education studies in: English Composition, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, College Math, General Biology and Sociology. Core courses include: Medical Terminology, Medical Law, Ethics, and Records Management, Medical Transcription, Diagnostic and Procedual Coding for MAA/MOBS, Healthcare Reimbursement and Claim Cycle, Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology, Patient Relations, Introduction to Healthcare Communication, Introduction to Medical Administrative Assisting, among others. While this coursework doesn’t prepare you to work directly with clinical patient care, it does prepare you for employment as front office personnel and other administrative work required by a physician’s office or clinic.
Ultimate Medical Academy is a non-profit, allied healthcare school located in Clearwater, Florida. UMA is a member of the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) and offers tuition benefits for active duty military, National Guard and Reserves members.
15. Kirtland Community College
Kirtland Community College has a hybrid Medical Assistant, AAS degree. This program requires 62 credit hours for completion and includes general education studies in: Introduction to Psychology, Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, English Composition and Intermediate Algebra. Other required courses in this program: Pathology w/Pharmacology, Medical Ethics and Law, Fundamentals of Nutrition, Introduction to Computers, ICD Coding, Revenue Cycle and Billing, Introduction to Electronic Health Records, Business Practices, Phlebotomy for the Medical Assistant and others. Graduates are eligible to sit for certification exams for Medical Assistants.
Kirtland Community College is located in Grayling, Michigan and was founded in 1968 and offers 48 degree and certificate programs. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.