Whether you’re after a certificate or you’re going for a full Associate of Applied Science or Bachelor’s degree, there are programs a-plenty to be found online in Medical Assisting. Obviously the overwhelming advantages of an online program are cost and convenience. The drawbacks? Online schools do a pretty good job of making up for lack of in-person contact by using technology such as video chat, webinars, phone support and the like. Some even have a final session where students do actually come together in person with instructors to practice skills.
The final component, the externship, is where students put all their coursework to practical use by completing 180-250 hours “working” in a real-life healthcare facility. This will usually take place in the local community, wherever that may be for each student.
One of the following online programs requires that you be enrolled in or have been previously enrolled in, a Medical Assisting program at their local community college.
Below you’ll find the 10 best online medical assistant schools.
Online Certificate Programs
Pinnacle Career Institute
The online certificate at Pinnacle can be earned in 12 months and does include an externship. There’s also a “boot camp”, where students attend a week-long session designed to help them polish their skills and practice their techniques. There will be 60 hours of lab work performed, after which students should feel very confident about their skills.
Pinnacle’s program stands out because of the boot camp, which is in addition to the externship. For an online program, they’ve gone the extra mile to give students hands-on experience.
If billing is your call, then Brookline College offers a totally online diploma in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding. Of course it’s not all numbers and paperwork, as students also learn anatomy, medical terminology, and classification of diseases. The externship is replaced by what they call a “capstone course”, one to bring together all the coursework completed in the program.
Online Associate Degrees
Kaplan University’s online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting is available to students in any state except NY, PA, and TX. The program includes a total of 92 credits, 15 of which are core credits (general ed). There are also 15 credits’ worth of open electives.
Kaplan’s program is not cheap, but they do offer scholarships and grants, as well as military discounts.
Graduates of Keiser’s online AS degree will be prepared to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam. Since Keiser also offers a nursing program, students may choose to seamlessly integrate their Medical Assisting degree into a Nursing degree. The externship is to be done in the student’s local neighborhood. Keiser also goes out of their way to make distance learning more personable by fostering a robust and active online community with lots of outreach to students.
An Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration can be earned online through Virginia College, which also has campus locations throughout the South. Virginia College’s online program is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which is important since employers look for accreditation, even from online schools.
Although courses are taken online, there’s great emphasis on an interactive teaching environment.
Both: Certificate and Associate Degree Programs
Penn Foster’s online choices offer great variety in the medical assisting world: choose between Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, or Medical Transcriptionist…all career diplomas. There’s even a certificate in Medical Terminology!
But if it’s an Associate’s degree you’re after, you’ll be glad to know the degree is called Medical Assistant. Penn Foster is accredited (even the online program described here).
Courses include medical coding, medical terminology, clinical procedures, and more.
San Joaquin Valley College
The SJVC certificate in Medical Assistant can be completed in a very fast 7 months. The Associate of Science degree takes 14 months. Students qualify to take certification exams and automatically earn a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Certification, CPR, and First Aid Certification.
SJVC offers a vibrant online community so students can reach out to other students, advisors, and instructors.
Ultimate Medical Academy Online
UMA has online diploma and Associate programs in Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Billing & Coding, and Medical Office & Billing Specialist. Take your pick! Prices are competitive and programs can be finished fast (diplomas in roughly 10 months, degrees in roughly 17 months).
UMA offers one-on-one student tutoring and technical support, closing the gap that’s often felt during distance learning programs. UMA even helps students (and alumni) with their job search.
If students choose one of the MAA programs, they are prepared for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) certification exam.
Daytona College has both online and campus programs, and offers diploma and Associate of Science programs for Medical Assisting as well as Medical Billing and Coding.
The AS degree graduates may sit for a number of certification exams, including Basic Radiographer, EKG Technician Certification, and the Phlebotomy Technician Certification.
Their online training covers administrative as well as clinical aspects of medical assisting. The final component is an externship that students perform in their locality at a healthcare facility near them.
Tuition is higher than most online programs but students can qualify for up to $17,698 in federal student loans. Job placement out of this program is 66%. In general, students rate Daytona College higher than average, as far as the quality of instruction goes.
Online Bachelor’s of Science Degrees
Northern Arizona University
NAU’s program is unusual for several reasons. First, it’s a Bachelor’s of Science (most others are Associates of Science). Secondly, it has the unusual requirement that students must be enrolled in an Associate degree program at their local community college. They must take all their allied health clinical concepts and training with the community college. NAU offers general health courses leading to the BS degree. This is a two-year progression, to be completed on top of the AS degree at a local institution.
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