It’s no secret that the medical industry is a booming field to pursue a career. With job and salary predictions expected to rise rapidly within the next 10 years, those who have a passion for healthcare will likely be in a market with a high job demand. That’s where medical assisting comes into play.
While the doctors and nurses often tend directly to a patient's needs, a medical assistant degree will give individuals the proper training in administrative and clinical tasks that would be performed as a certified medical assistant (CMA). Students will learn medical coding, anatomy and physiology, how to conduct lab tests, and everything that is needed to work directly with patients.
Medical assistants are essential to the function of any physician’s office. Luckily for most, with the right education and medical assisting program, this career can be within one’s reach in as little as two years. With this career you will interact directly with doctors, nurses, technicians, and patients. Because of this, it’s no wonder many programs offer hands-on experience through externships to learn the skills needed to properly carry out important duties.
Taking into consideration academic and clinical training, tuition cost, accreditation, student population, and the likelihood of landing a job post-graduation, we’ve broken down the top 10 colleges that any aspiring medical assistant should be begging to attend.
Medical assistants typically complete an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting that prepares them for the varying responsibilities that can expect when beginning their career. The majority of medical assistants work in physician offices and handle various administrative tasks.
Day-to-day responsibilities can include working with patient documents and records, billing, and standard patient intake tasks like documenting vital signs and blood pressure.
After enrolling in an online or on-campus medical assistant program, students can anticipate classes with a strong foundation in introductory medical topics. These programs often focus on the interpersonal and technical skills needed to begin their career in healthcare. While requirements can vary between programs, most students complete about 60 credits of coursework before receiving their diploma. Students usually graduate after two years of full-time classes.
In the next section, we introduce some specifics of medical assistant degrees, the types of classes students can expect, and how they can leverage their degree into various careers.
Competing a medical assistant associate degree provides students with a clear path toward beginning their career in healthcare. An associate degree in medical assisting usually finds students completing 60 credits of coursework over about two years.
Alongside core medical assisting classes, students also complete various general education courses—general education classes are vital for students wanting to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
Throughout their two-year associate degree, students encounter various topics vital to the everyday functioning of healthcare offices. You’ll encounter administrative topics like coding and medical ethics, along with courses in physiology and anatomy. Students also gain the practical skills utilized in a professional medical environment, including scheduling, billing, office etiquette, and taking vital signs. Other standard medical assistant courses include topics like medical terminology, pharmacology, and medical law and ethics.
Most of the best medical assistant programs lead to an associate degree while preparing students to secure medical assistant certification. While not always required, some employers prefer hiring individuals that have passed certification examinations. Additionally, passing a certification exam is an excellent way to boost career options and increase earning potential. Below we highlight several certification pathways for medical assistant graduates.
If you’re interested in a hands-on helping career, completing the necessary requirements to become a medical assistant is a relatively quick and affordable way to jumpstart a career. Whether you complete a medical assistant program on-campus or online, you’ll gain the skills you need to provide competent and compassionate patient care. In addition to offering the skills needed to start a medical assisting career, many graduates go on to complete the requirements to secure certification as an LPN or RN.
Students graduating with a medical assistant associate degree typically have access to entry-level administrative roles in various healthcare settings. While most medical assistants work in physician offices, others sometimes work in hospitals and outpatient settings.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants earn a median salary of nearly $36,000 per year. Additionally, medical assistant graduates can expect to enter a workforce that’s projected to grow by 18% over the next decade. Medical assistants interested in standing out from their competition can complete certification exams and demonstrate competency with electronic health records.
While a medical assistant degree can help you quickly begin your healthcare career, an associate degree is also an affordable way to complete college requirements before transferring to a four-year institution. Students who go on to earn a bachelor’s degree dramatically expand career options and earning potential.
Online medical assistant degree programs offer students a flexible and affordable path toward earning their medical assistant certification and beginning their healthcare careers. An especially convenient option, online programs commonly allow learners to complete coursework at their own pace, anytime, and anywhere with an internet connection. Prospective online students should note that some programs have some in-person requirements.
Whether you’re enrolling online or on-campus, the best programs hold both institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation from groups like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation helps ensure that you receive a quality education while having access to essential student services.
|School||Average Tuition||Student Teacher Ratio||Enrolled Students|
|Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA||26 : 1||8,286|
|Ohio University-Main Campus Athens, OH||28 : 1||25,714|
|Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha, NE||17 : 1||1,212|
|Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO||25 : 1||3,688|
|University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK||29 : 1||11,953|