With projected job growth of 18 percent through 2029, and programs as short as six weeks, you cannot go wrong by completing an online medical assistant training program.
You can earn up to a $35,000 annual salary as a clinical or administrative medical assistant and benefit from job experience in the medical field.
This job provides an entry-level position where you can work part-time or full-time.
Many individuals hold this position while attending medical school to become a nurse or doctor.
Both the experience and the salary help them with their medical school.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Courses Are in an Online Medical Assistant Training Program?
- 2 Can You Earn an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification Completely Online?
- 3 How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification?
- 4 How Much Does an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification Cost?
- 5 Types of Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certifications
- 6 Benefits of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
- 7 Drawbacks of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
- 8 Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs – Summary Table
- 9 4 Self-Study Tips for Online Medical Assistant Training Program Online Students
- 10 Schools Offering Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
- 11 Summary
- 12 Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses Are in an Online Medical Assistant Training Program?
Most training courses provide between 540 and 600 course classroom hours.
These classes include:
- Healthcare team skills in an ambulatory setting
- Therapeutic communication
- Patient privacy and HIPAA regulations
- Patient communication
- Medical office safety
- Medical terminology
- Clinical procedures
- Insurance – both private and government-issued
- Major body systems functions
- Chief complaint writing
- Patient history taking
- Medical and surgical asepsis
- Types of medical records
Can You Earn an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification Completely Online?
You can earn an online medical assistant training program certification completely online.
You may need to complete the certification requirements for your state offline though.
How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification?
The shortest programs available require only six weeks if you are motivated and studious.
Most programs allow you to complete the coursework at your own pace, taking a maximum of 18 months to successfully complete the training program for medical assistants.
How Much Does an Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certification Cost?
The cost of programs varies, but you can use the average cost as an estimate of the amount of money you will need to save or borrow unless you qualify for financial aid.
If you use a vocational training school, it will cost you much less than if you attended a four-year college for the training.
The average tuition at a vocational online school costs $2,700 with a range of $1,200 to $4,200.
Types of Online Medical Assistant Training Program Certifications
You can choose from a vocational school program or a college program.
If you choose the latter, you will need to decide if you want to pursue an associate degree or a bachelor’s program.
Benefits of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
You will find numerous benefits to attending an online medical assistant training program online.
Some of the benefits of using an online medical assistant training program apply to all online training programs.
An online medical assistant training program provides a curriculum focused only on the practical skills required for the position.
You will receive student-centered virtual training without the core curriculum or prerequisites that add to the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Some of these medical assistant programs let you complete your training in as little as six weeks.
You can also take up to 18 months at some schools.
That lets you quickly complete the training, so you can start work.
You will not have a lot of downtime if you want to change careers.
If you want to start work quickly after high school, you can finish school before any of your classmates and start work while they take English 101.
Small Class Sizes
Attending smaller classes increases the personal attention received from an experienced, well-qualified instructor.
You gain more interaction opportunities and engagement opportunities with other students.
It Still Uses Some Hands-On Learning
Online classes typically include the essential equipment, so you can practice what you learn before using it in the office or hospital environment.
Online medical assistant programs still require class time for anatomy, pharmacology, medical ethics, medical terminology, and physiology.
If you continue on with medical school training, you will eventually work as an intern, but in an online medical assistant program, you will complete at least one supervised externship.
These short job shadowing externships provide the student with on-the-job experience with an experienced medical assistant, so they can obtain supervised yet hands-on exposure to medical specialties, medical equipment, and patient care.
Schools use the externship performance evaluation to identify the student’s weaknesses and strengths.
Job Placement Assistance
Offline schools typically provide job placement assistance rather than job boards, so the new graduate has help landing their first job.
These job placement services can ensure that a good student goes right to work after graduating.
The placement advisors can help match student strengths with job openings and can help them locate mentors for career development.
Preparation for Certification
Finally, working as a medical assistant now requires certification or registration in some states and most online programs for this career assist with obtaining needed credentials.
It did not always, but as the complexity of the profession grew, states began adding requirements.
Some requirements stemmed from changing laws that affected Medicare and Medicaid and other insurers and the privacy requirements for electronic health records.
The typical certificate comes from the American Association of Medical Assistants.
To obtain this certificate, you must graduate from an accredited medical assistant program.
You will also need to renew it every five years via continuing education hours or reexamination.
Drawbacks of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
As many benefits exist, a few drawbacks exist, too.
Some do not apply to every individual.
You Are an In-Person Learner
If you learn best from a hands-on experience where you can ask questions and have an in-person demonstration of the answer, you will not obtain that from an online program.
Some items you need to learn, like drawing blood properly, do require a lot of practice and supervision to make sure you are doing it the appropriate way.
Lack of Local Students
You may have no local students with whom to study or bond.
In an online program, you will have numerous locations represented but may not have anyone in your own locality.
It Requires Self-Motivation
In-person programs have formal classes.
You have to show up on time and attend every class.
With online learning and its self-paced format, you must be self-motivated to stick to a schedule and complete all of the work.
If you do not do well at self-scheduling or focusing on assignments, you should attend an in-person program.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs|
|Career-Focused Training||You Are an In-Person Learner|
|Accelerated Learning||Lack of Local Students|
|Small Class Sizes||It Requires Self-Motivation|
|It Still Uses Some Hands-On Learning|
|Job Placement Assistance|
|Preparation for Certification|
4 Self-Study Tips for Online Medical Assistant Training Program Online Students
Taking classes online works a little differently than doing so in person.
You will not have ready access to a study group, so you need to get creative about planning your class time, study time, and finding a friend with whom you can study.
Tip 1: Locate a local study buddy and mentor.
Things like drawing blood and taking vital signs take practice.
You also need to ensure you are practicing doing them the appropriate way.
This is where a mentor, who can show you how to do it in person, can help.
That individual typically will not have much free time, but you can locate a local study partner who is studying the same material.
Tip 2: Buy a daily planner and use it to plan study time and assignment deadlines.
It can be tough to self-manage every aspect of school, especially if you have just graduated high school.
You are accustomed to having set class times and physically attending classes.
Online school means choosing when you will attend class and planning for exams and paper deadlines accordingly.
Self-paced programs let you take each class at your own pace and once you finish specific modules, you will need to complete the test for them.
That means you will set the dates for your own exams as well as when you will attend class.
Plan it all out ahead of time in your daily planner (not a weekly or monthly planner).
You will typically take multiple courses at one time, so a weekly or monthly planner will not provide you with enough room.
Tip 3: Eliminate distractions.
Block out study sessions for yourself and block out all distractions.
This means no social media, checking messages, checking email, etc.
You just study.
Find a distraction-free environment and hit the books.
Tip 4: Take great notes.
Take notes as if you were sitting in your high school class.
You still need to retain the information because, during the exams, you will not be able to access an outside screen.
Many people misunderstand this about testing-taking in an online environment.
Most schools set up the tests so that you cannot open another browser or window.
They also lock out access to the study modules for you while you take the exam.
This makes it just like taking a test in a physical classroom at college.
You cannot cheat, so taking great notes still matters.
Writing things down helps you retain them.
Schools Offering Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
|Penn Foster||925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515|
|SUNY Corning Community College||1 Academic Drive, Corning, NY 14830|
|Weston Distance Learning||2001 Lowe Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525|
|Herzing University||W140N8917 Lilly Road Menomonee Falls, WI 53051|
|MedCerts||14143 Farmington Road Livonia, MI 48154|
|Western Nevada College||2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703|
|Tyler Junior College||1327 South Baxter Avenue Tyler, Texas 75701|
|West Virginia Junior College||144 WILLEY ST. | MORGANTOWN, WV | 26505|
|Daytona College||425 S. Nova Rd. Ormond Beach, FL 32174|
|Century College||3300 Century Ave N White Bear Lake, MN 55110|
|Wichita Falls Medical Assistant School||1819 10th Street Wichita Falls, TX 76301|
|Borough of Manhattan Community College||199 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007|
|University of Houston-Downtown||One Main Street Houston, TX 77002|
|Renton Technical College||3000 NE 4th St. Renton, WA 98056|
|Dakota County Technical College||1300 145TH STREET E., ROSEMOUNT, MINN. 55068-2999|
|Blue Cliff College||3200 Cleary Avenue, Metairie, Louisiana|
|University of Arkansas||1 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701|
|Seattle Central College||1701 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122|
You can complete the training and licensing to become a medical assistant in four to 18 months online.
This position provides you with a strong background for continuing medical education if you want to become an LPN, a nurse, or a doctor.
You can earn a median salary of about $35,000 annually.
If you like helping people and want a career in medicine, a career as a medical assistant might be for you, and you can complete your education completely online.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a clinical and an administrative medical assistant?
Working as an administrative medical assistant means you will answer telephones, greet patients, attend to bookkeeping, billing, and other accounting procedures, code insurance forms, handle insurance company correspondence, update patient records, obtain the pre-authorization for procedures, and schedule medical procedures and surgeries.
Working as a clinical medical assistant means you will handle more of the hands-on medical tasks, such as drawing blood, performing EKGs, running essential lab tests, removing sutures, dressing wounds, recording vital sign information, taking patient history, assisting nurses and doctors during patient exams, and explaining medication schedules to patients.
Which states require licensing of medical assistants?
Each state differs in its requirements for medical assistants.
Washington mandates licensing of its medical assistants.
Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, and Virginia allow employers to require certification or licensing of medical assistants.
North Dakota adds educational requirements for a medical assistant to be able to administer injections.
South Dakota requires medical assistants to apply for and be accepted to the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (SDBMOE) registry.
What does a medical assistant make in my state?
In the US, the salaries of its 712,430 medical assistants vary widely.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for this position is $34,800 but you will probably start lower than that.
The entry-level salaries start at $25,820, while the 90th percentile of medical assistants makes $48,720 annually.
Of course, that varies by state and city within a state.
The state of Alaska offers the best overall salaries, with a median of $45,630.
You will make a bit more than that though if you reside in the city of Vallejo-Fairfield, CA.
Its medical assistants make $49,880 per year, while those employed in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA earn $48,920 annually.
You can find your state on this map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What is the typical workday like for a medical assistant?
About 57 percent of medical assistants work in a physical office.
Most individuals working in this position work full-time – five eight-hour workdays per week.
You will start by reviewing the shift’s appointments, answering emails and phone calls, as well as prepping the examination or treatment rooms.
When each patient comes in, you will take their vital statistics and update their patient history.
During the patient’s appointment, you will assist the doctor or nurse with items like removing sutures, cleaning wounds, collecting blood and urine samples, and re-setting the exam room for the next appointment.
At the end of the workday, you will clean and sterilize lab equipment, arrange lab sample pickups, restock exam rooms, and enter patient data in the electronic health records system.