Making time to go to college and earn a degree is hard for some. Many working adults have families and full-time jobs, while some high school graduates may have to work full-time to pay for college. Luckily, aspiring medical assistant students have options over the traditional classroom-based college education. There are multiple colleges who offer online instruction in medical assisting.
Online learning allows you to earn your degree in between other life responsibilities. Online medical assisting programs are disciplined, concise programs designed to train you as a flexible medical professional. A certificate, diploma or two-year Associate degree may be offered depending on the online school you choose.
There are many things to consider when choosing an online school:
- Accreditation- The medical assisting program you choose should be accredited. When you graduate from an accredited program, you’ll be able to sit for the medical assisting certification exam (CMA) given by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Some programs may not hold accreditation, so be sure to ask before enrolling.
- Cost- Online medical assistant schools generally cost about the same as class-based programs. However, be sure to ask for a list of fees and costs to help make an educated decision.
- Graduation requirements- Some online programs may require that you complete class time in a physical classroom setting. Many online programs have physical locations throughout the United States. Also find out if hands-on clinical hours, called an externship, is required for graduation.
- Education quality- Be sure to thoroughly investigate an online medical assisting program before you commit. The school should be able to provide genuine testimonials, documented program outcomes like graduation rates and job placement rates. Don’t judge online schools based on information gathered from their website- call the school to find out more.
Let’s take a look at online medical assisting schools:
1) Dakota County Technical College
A combination of online and classroom learning is offered for a degree in medical assisting. You may earn either a 42-credit diploma, or 62-credit Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting. Prerequisites for admission are required.
2) Fortis College
Fortis College offers an online degree as a medical administrative assistant. This degree prepares you to handle administrative duties in a medical setting. This includes medical billing and coding, handling medical records and patient scheduling. Graduates often work in medical clinics and hospitals. Graduations may be able to sit for certification exams; be sure to ask Fortis College for accreditation and certification exam opportunities.
3) Keiser University
Keiser University offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting. The program is 60 credits and combines general education courses and core medical assisting classes. The University has physical locations in Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale, Lakeland, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Tampa, Melbourne and Sarasota for students who wish a more traditional classroom. Keiser offers a new medical assisting course each month so students don’t have to wait to enroll.
4) Penn Foster College
Penn Foster offers a medical assisting Associate degree. The program is accredited so graduates may sit for the CMA credentialing exam. Students are sent textbooks via the mail, while coursework is completed online. The College offers full support via phone, email and online for help throughout the program.
5) Sanford- Brown
Sanford-Brown offers a combination of online and in-classroom training in medical assisting. Students may earn a certificate, diploma or Associate degree, depending on what physical campus they choose to attend. Sanford-Brown has campuses across the United States to make it easy for students to enroll in the medical assisting program.
6) Herzing University
Herzing University offers both a diploma and Associate of Science degree in medical assisting. The diploma program takes about 12-20 months to complete while the advanced degree takes up to 24 months. Students may begin in the diploma program and roll into the Associate degree program if they choose. Students may further their education by extending an Associate degree into a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management through the University as well.
7) Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy offers a diploma of medical administrative assisting. This course prepares students to work as an administrative medical assistant and handle medical billing, medical records, appointment setting and other administrative duties. The online course takes about 18 months to complete and graduates may sit for certification through the National Healthcareer Association.
8 ) St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants
St. Augustine offers an eight week medical assisting certificate program which can be completed completely online. Students are provided with course materials and ongoing support via online and phone. The course has virtual labs in which skills are taught through simulation. This program is not accredited for the CMA certification exam; be sure to speak with the school about other certification opportunities.