Best Medical Assistant Programs and Schools
If you’ve started researching medical assistant programs, then you already know how difficult it is determine the quality of a school from their website. A good medical assistant has to be good at a lot of things at once – from book smarts, to handling people well, to being an ace at complicated paperwork. A good medical assistant school has to educate on all those levels, which requires a healthy mix of classroom learning and on-the-job experience.
In general, you’ll encounter two kinds of online medical assistant programs: a fully online degree or certificate, and a hybrid curriculum that involves some on-campus time and some general education courses online. By our count, there are 26 schools that offer a majority-online curriculum, and another 51 schools that have some online coursework. That’s a lot of choices to navigate.
We set out to identify the best online medical assistant schools and programs in the country to save you some of the trouble. We considered a variety of factors, chief amongst them:
- The type of degree offered,
- The rigor of the program,
- And the ability to bridge the gap between online learning and hands-on experience.
We surveyed hundreds of schools, asking them a range of important questions to whittle down the options and provide you with a manageable and easy-to-understand list of the top online medical assistant programs and schools in the country.
Using the Medical Assistant Programs Directory
Our directory includes more than 6,200 medical assistant training programs at more than 2,000 schools. You can filter the results based on your study preferences, career goals, and lifestyle.
Top Features to Look For in a Medical Assistant School
Accreditation is the single most important factor to consider.
Only schools that are officially accredited by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are worth considering.
A medical assistant degree isn’t enough. You need an education that’s good enough to ensure you pass the exam to earn your medical assistant certification. These independent accreditation bodies have stringent guidelines to determine that the schools they approve offer the level of education necessary to get students past that milestone.
Accreditation is easy to check – just contact the school and ask them to show you their accreditation information. If they don’t have it, they aren’t worth your time.
The qualifications your teachers have is also crucial.
Your teachers will play a significant role in your education on a daily basis. You can check up on their background to make sure they’re properly trained to teach the subjects they’re teaching. Simply searching Google for their names and credentials can tell you most of what you need to know. If you want to be sure that a certain professor is a board-certified physician, just run a search on CertificationMatters.com, the official certification database of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
Online Medical Assistant Programs vs On Campus
As long as you’ve already got your high school diploma or GED – which is required to start any medical assistant program – your biggest decision is which school to go with. Your entire educational experience will be different depending on whether you choose an online medical assistant program or one that takes place on a college campus. This may not be an all-or-nothing choice, as many schools now offer at least some of their classes online – but it’s still an important question to settle.
A brick-and-mortar school will give you more opportunities to interact directly with your classmates and teachers. This real-world interaction can help keep you motivated to show up for class, complete your assignments, and finish the program – and it’ll also make it easier to get your questions answered on the spot. In online classes, your interactions with teachers and students will mostly happen in forums and chats, which can make it trickier (but not impossible) to build up a support network.
Although most brick-and-mortar schools offer classes during the day and evening, you’ll need to show up on time, and stay for the entire class if you expect to pass the tests and graduate. Since you can take online classes anywhere you’ve got an Internet connection, at any time of the day or night, they can be much easier to fit into your schedule, especially if you’re already working full-time. Some online schools may even allow you to start taking classes as soon as you want, rather than making you pre-register and wait for the next semester to start.
There’s not a right answer to which option is better, just a right-for-you answer. Weigh all your options carefully and determine which works best for your needs.