Online Medical Assistant Degrees

Medical assisting is a burgeoning field in the United States. Due to the rising population of elderly Americans, technological advancements in the field, and anticipated growth in the number of U.S. healthcare facilities, positions for medical assistants are projected to increase by 23% over the next decade.

Medical assistants provide both clinical and administrative support in hospitals, physician’s offices, and other healthcare facilities. Successful medical assistants should be able to communicate clearly with patients, support doctors, multitask, and stay calm in stressful situations. Students who complete online medical assistant programs are fully equipped with the skills needed to excel in the field.

Meet our expert

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Ali Roscoe Medical Assistant

“I believe there are numerous advantages to taking classes online. First and foremost, I think the flexibility and making your own schedule is a plus.”

Online Medical Assistant Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $16,539 16.2% 1+ years $29,600 $34,400 4%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Students enrolled in online medical assistant programs typically graduate in one or two years. Graduates from medical assistant programs online can expect to find a variety job opportunities immediately after school. An associate degree will enhance your career options, and because medical assistant programs online are not offered at a higher degree level, this is the right degree for professionals entering the field.

Choosing Your Medical Assistant Career

Average Medical Assistant Salaries

$35,900
$29,810
$30,631
$29,960

Medical Records Technician

Salary: $35,900
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
15% 29,000 Bachelor's RHIT / AHIMA recommended, not required

Medical records technicians manage medical documents, lab and exam results, and more. They record data, review and track patients’ records and results, use classification software for reimbursement and data analysis, and maintain clinical databases. Medical records technicians must be analytical, ethical, and well-versed in medical terminology to ensure compliance with security and privacy regulations. Medical records are becoming increasingly digital, and medical records technicians must have strong computer skills and feel comfortable using electronic health records software. Most employers require medical records technicians to have some specialized postsecondary training. Although not required, the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is recommended.

Pharmacy Technician

Salary: $29,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 372,500 High School Diploma or Equivalent PTCE Exam

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists by receiving prescription requests, counting tablets, labeling bottles, pricing and filling the prescriptions, and organizing inventory. Administrative duties include maintaining patient profiles, preparing insurance claim forms, answering phones, and operating cash registers. Technicians must learn about the medication they handle, and know the side effects of each prescription. Pharmacy technicians must also be able to maintain confidentiality, and be precise when handling and discussing medication. Certification is required by some states and employers. Completing a medical assistant online associate degree or certificate program will help pharmacy technicians prepare for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification.

Clinical Medical Assistant

Salary: $30,631
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
23% 591,300 High School Diploma or Equivalent None

Clinical medical assistants prepare patients for exams, take vitals, check medical histories, sterilize medical instruments, instruct patients on home care practices, complete minor treatments and basic lab tests, and occasionally support physicians during appointments. In smaller practices, clinical medical assistants may also help with administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments and lab work, making follow-up calls, and filing records. Clinical medical assistants must be able to multitask and communicate clearly. They should also understand basic medical terminology and procedures. Although a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for this career in some states, many employers look for certification and formal training, such as an online medical assistant program.

Administrative Medical Assistant

Salary: $29,960
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
23% 591,300 Certificate Various certifications available, not required

Administrative medical assistants manage the front desk at healthcare facilities. They manage medical records, schedule appointments or lab tests, make insurance claims, code medical information, and more. When working with patients, administrative medical assistants provide friendly and professional customer service. They should have strong written and oral communication skills, must know how to use a computer and basic programs, and be familiar with basic medical terminology. Students can develop all of these abilities in online medical assistant programs.

Online Medical Assistant Degree in Action

Ali Roscoe Medical Assistant

Ali Roscoe is a Utilization Manager at Drake Counseling Services, a chemical dependency and mental health treatment facility. She complete insurance benefits and authorization for treatment for all five facilities. Ali also serves as an Adolescent Case Manager and helps them them achieve their goals.

Why did you choose to complete your program online?

I first started out going to college on-campus, however, I was given a great job opportunity. I then chose to complete my degrees online to better fit my schedule, as I work full-time during the day. It was my only option at the time and I was honestly quite nervous as to what it would entail, but I don't know if I would ever go back on-campus for education again.

What have you found to be advantageous in taking classes online?

I believe there are numerous advantages to taking classes online. First and foremost, I think the flexibility and making your own schedule is a plus. Particularly in my online classes, we have due-dates weekly and I'm able to finish the assignments within that week on my own time. We are also given the option to work ahead if we should have an event the following week. Secondly, I've grown to like learning and completing homework within my own living environment.

Being able to take your course work with you, wherever you go, is a huge advantage to me. I go on vacation at least twice a year and have numerous work meeting events out of town that I have to attend. I also find it a lot easier to stay on task while working on homework or studying in my comfort zone. I was easily distracted while in the classroom setting and had troubles at times obtaining information. Another huge plus is that I don't have to drive to campus everyday and it's saves me a lot of time, money, and gas.

What were some of the drawbacks of completing an online program?

I struggle with time management at times and fitting school, work and a social/family life into my schedule. It can be very challenging at times and very stressful, but it always seems to play out eventually.

Do you think your experience in taking online classes has helped you in your career?

The healthcare field is changing frequently and I feel as though my online classes have prepared me every step of the way for my current job position.

Online Medical Assistant Degrees

Associate

Students who earn an associate degree through an online medical assistant program will benefit from increased job opportunities, eligibility for certifications, and higher salaries. Medical assistant programs thoroughly prepare students for careers as clinical medical assistants, administrative medical assistants, specialized medical assistants, and pharmacy technicians. The BLS projects that positions in the field will grow by 23% over the next decade, making this a great time to pursue a medical assistant online program.

Sample Courses
Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Office Systems and Procedures, Pharmacology, and Law and Ethics in Medicine
Common Majors
Medical Administrative Assisting, Medical Assisting, Health Information Technology, and Pharmacy Technician
Potential Jobs
Clinical Medical Assistants, Administrative Medical Assistants, Specialized Medical Assistants, and Pharmacy Technicians
Average Income
$29,960
Employment Prospects
23% growth from 2014 to 2024

The Top 5 Online Medical Assistant Degrees

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

Olney Central College

Olney
  • in-state tuition: $8,873
  • out-of-state tuition: $10,811
2

Wright Career College

Overland Park
  • annually: $12,700
3

Keiser University

Overland Park
  • annually: $16,284
4

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Fergus Falls
  • annually: $5,338
5

Colorado Mountain College

Glenwood Springs
  • in-state tuition: $2,460
  • out-of-state tuition: $7,356

See full rankings

Professional Requirements

The Certified Medical Assistant Exam

The Certified Medical Assistant Exam (CMA) is a credential awarded through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Recent and upcoming graduates from an accredited medical assisting program, including online medical assistant programs, can take the CMA for $125. Non-recent graduates can take the exam for $250 (or $300 for those whose certification has expired). The CMA tests general medical, administrative, and clinical knowledge through 200 multiple-choice questions delivered across four 40-minute segments.

Is it required?

Not required in most states, but preferred by many employers

How long will it take?

The exam consists of four 40-minute segments

National Certified Medical Assistant Exam

The National Certified Medical Assistant Exam (NCMA) enables medical assistants to obtain certification through the National Certification Career Association (NCCA). Eligible candidates are current students or graduates from a medical assisting program (including online medical assistant programs), people with two years of verifiable full-time experience as a medical assistant, and those who completed training in medical assisting in the U.S. Military (as long as the education or work experience occurred within the last five years). The test is $90 for students, graduates within the last six months, and those with military training. For other candidates, the test costs $135. The exam tests clinical and administrative knowledge with sections on pharmacology, phlebotomy, medical procedures, general office procedures, and law and ethics. There are 15 unscored pretest items and 150 scored items.

Is it required?

Not required in most states, but preferred by many employers

How long will it take?

Three hours

Registered Medical Assistant Exam

This certification from the American Medical Technologists demonstrates competency and skills to employers. Those eligible for the RMA include recent or upcoming graduates from an accredited medical assisting program — including a medical assistant certification online — or a formal medical services training program of the United States Armed Forces. Other eligible candidates include those employed as a medical assistant for a minimum of five out of the last seven years, instructors from accredited medical assisting programs, or anybody that has passed another certification organization’s general medical assistant exam. The cost is $120. The RMA consists of 210 multiple-choice questions covering three sections: general medical assisting knowledge, administrative medical assisting, and clinical medical assisting.

Is it required?

Not required in most states, but preferred by many employers

How long will it take?

Two hours and 30 minutes

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam

The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam (CCMA) is a certification from the National Healthcareer Association, intended for clinical medical assistants. To be eligible, candidates must have completed a training program in clinical medical assisting (such as an online medical assistant program) within the last five years, or have at least one year of work experience within the field during the last three years. The exam costs $149, although many schools choose to include the cost of the exam as a part of your tuition. The six main sections of the CCMA test patient care, communication, office administration, medical law and ethics, phlebotomy, and EKG monitoring. The exam includes 20 pretest questions and 150 main questions.

Is it required?

Not required in most states, but preferred by many employers

How long will it take?

Two hours and 50 minutes